Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss Irish Aid and the current situation in the Horn of Africa with Minister

September 27th, 2011 - Pat Breen

The Irish Aid Annual Report, the review of the White Paper on Irish Aid, the Africa Strategy and the current situation in the Horn of Africa will be among the key issues that the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade tomorrow will discuss with the Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for Trade and Development Jan O’Sullivan TD tomorrow, Wednesday, 28th September.

Committee Chairman, Pat Breen TD said: “Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. In 2010, the Government provided €675 million in Official Development Assistance, which represented 0.53% of GNP. The Committee is looking forward to analysing Irish Aid’s latest annual report with the Minister and to discuss the progress that has been made in tackling hunger and poverty in Irish Aid’s partner countries.

A Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid, one of the commitments contained in the Programme for Government, was announced by the Minister in June 2011 and we will be looking for the Minister to update us on this review. Members will also have an opportunity to raise any issues they may have in relation to the review.

Our meeting will also provide us with an opportunity to discuss the current situation in the Horn of Africa. Last July, the Horn of Africa was experiencing a severe food crisis with between 10 and 12 million people in drought stricken areas of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia severely affected. While the problems in the region may have slipped off the news agenda, evidence would suggest that the food security situation in the Horn of Africa continues to deteriorate.

Ireland’s response has been acknowledged as one of the more committed. Ireland has pledged €7 million euros to meet the needs of the people of this region and has despatched 11 members of the Irish Aid Rapid Response Corps. However, greater action and financial assistance is required from the international community. At our meeting tomorrow, we will be able to get an up to date assessment of the nature of the crisis and establish what extra measures Ireland could take to help avert the catastrophe.”

This meeting will take place in Committee Room 1 at 3pm on Wednesday, 28th September.

Committee proceedings can be followed live at:
http://www.oireachtas.ie/ViewDoc.asp?fn=/documents/livewebcast/Web-Live.htm&CatID=83&m=o