Overseas Aid increase urged
Irish Overseas Aid should be increased to the United Nations target of 0.7% of GNP, urged Sinn Féin Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin when he qustioned the Taoiseach in the Dáil this week.
The Cavan/Monaghan TD asked the Taoiseach about his recent visit to South Africa and Lesotho and agreed with his praise for the work being done there with the help of Overseas Aid from the Irish government. But the Sinn Féin TD said that the current level of Overseas Aid from Ireland was ``disgracefully low'' and urged the Taoiseach to reach the United Nations target for aid, which is less than one penny in the pound. He said:
``Mhol an Taoiseach an méid atá a dhéanamh san Afraic Theas agus i Lesotho le cabhair airgid ón Rialtas anseo.
bhfuil sé sásta an cabhair sin a árdú, gan é a fhágáil ar an leibhéal íseal scanallach ar a bfhuil sé le trí bliain anuas? I join with the Taoiseach's deserved expression of praise for the work being done in South Africa and Lesotho with Irish overseas aid and I compliment those involved in the direct delivery of that aid. Does the Taoiseach agree that the level of Irish overseas aid is disgracefully low and will he say when, or indeed if, the government intends to make any progress towards the United
Nation's goal of 0.7% of our GNP going to overseas aid? Will he give a considered response to that? Other TDs referred to the detail of increased allocation but I am anxious to hear the Taoiseach giving a specific commitment in this regard.''
Bertie Ahern gave no commitment or timeframe to reach the UN target within the lifetime of the present government.