Speaking in Dublin at the launch of the European Parliament Year of Development, Brian Hayes MEP, said that this year as a country we should recommit to the 0.7% target for Development Aid.
Brian Hayes MEP is the only Irish member of the European Parliament’s Development Committee.
“Ireland’s Official Development Aid (ODA) budget was cut from €920 million in 2008 to €601 million in 2014. While this Government has stopped the decline in the ODA budget, we are still a long way off achieving the 0.7% target. We should not forget that we committed to this target in 2000. Fifteen years later our contribution is now 0.46% of GNP. We need to do much more.
“This year the Taoiseach will address the United Nations on the revised Millennium Goals. He should use the opportunity to state publicly a realistic timeframe for achieving the 0.7% commitment. It won’t happen overnight. It will take some years. But a realistic timeframe needs to be put in place to show our commitment to the Developing World.”
“There are no easy options on this issue. As a former Minister I fully understand the pressures on public expenditure. But we have made international commitments that we have to honour.
Thankfully Ireland’s economy is growing again and that gives us the opportunity to achieve this commitment over a number of years.”
“I believe there is huge public support for achieving the 0.7% commitment. Everyone understands the financial crisis and the impact this had on our ability to contribute more to the ODA budget. ”
“Despite the fact that we are emerging from one of the most severe recessions in history, we are still a wealthy country. By setting a realistic time frame at the United Nations in achieving the 0.7% commitment – we will send out a strong signal to the world.”