Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has broadly welcomed the Government’s commitment to increase Ireland’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), but has stated that the quality of such is aid is as important as the quantity.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“I welcome that Budget 2018 increased Ireland’s Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) by €13 million.  Ireland’s ODA must play a fundamental role in our Foreign Affairs policy and Ireland must prioritise our international assistance on efforts to end hunger, and tackle climate, poverty and inequality on this island and around the world.

“The world is currently suffering an unprecedented amount of simultaneous conflicts and humanitarian disasters, and Ireland needs to play a role in helping to tackle them.

“Additionally I will again be challenging the Government, in the interest of accountability and transparency, to fully document how and when they plan to reach the UN target of 0.7% of GNI spending on ODA.

“However it is important to note that the quality of aid is as important as the quantity.”

Crowe continued:

“The Government has also committed to deepening Ireland’s ‘Global Footprint’ and have committed €2 million to this project. Apart from this information, we have received no further information on this plan. I will be questioning the Minister on just how and where this money will be spent.

“There is also a €1.5 million increase in spending to respond to the surge in demand for Irish passports. This is welcome but I will also be again requesting that the Government opens a passport office in Belfast to better respond to this increased demand and the passport needs of Irish citizens in the North of Ireland.”