International development policy focuses on supporting growth, encouraging volunteerism and improving transparency – Breen

May 2nd, 2013 - Pat Breen

Fine Gael Clare TD and Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs, Pat Breen, has today (Thursday) welcomed the launch of Ireland’s new policy for international development, ‘One World, One Future’ saying it focusses on supporting growth, encouraging volunteerism and improving transparency. The policy sets out the priorities for our overseas aid programme for the next four years.

Deputy Breen attended the launch of the policy with the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore TD, at the Irish Aid Centre in Dublin earlier today.

“Ireland has a proud reputation as being a very generous overseas aid donor, and I think it is especially important that we strive to make the system as transparent and effective as possible given our own economic difficulties. Ireland has been through a very tough couple of years domestically, but that does not mean that we should not continue to strive to reduce hunger, boost development and improve equality in some of the world’s poorest regions.

“This policy has a keen focus on sustainability. That means we not only want to help tackle poverty and hunger, but to give people the skills and tools to address it in the long-term. We want to look at what is causing poverty, so impoverished countries can chart a future where they will be aid free.

“There were understandable concerns about the implications for the Irish aid programme last year, following disturbing revelations about money being misappropriated in Uganda. What is vitally important is that deserving countries and programmes do not suffer as a result of mistakes made by others. That is why there is a particular focus on openness, transparency and accountability in this policy, with all aid data to be published under the internationally agreed format by 2015.

“As well as being very generous donors, Irish people also have a strong reputation for going abroad to far flung regions to do charitable work. A new Volunteering Initiative will be launched as part of the new four year strategy, to harness the experience of Irish people and institutions. I hope this will lead to even more people going abroad to help those in need in the years ahead.

“The aid programme also provides Ireland with an opportunity to benefit from the relationships that we continue to foster with developing nations. For example, many economies in Africa are growing by 5% a year, and consumer spending is forecast to double in the next ten years. As we continue to forge links with African nations, we can identify trade opportunities that can be of benefit to both sides.”