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Written Answers - Overseas Development Aid

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 112.  Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  if he is in a position to outline the impact of budgetary reductions on the aid programme in Lesotho; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6601/12]

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Joe Costello): Information on Joe Costello Zoom on Joe Costello For 2012, the Government will provide a total of €639 million for ODA, which, on current projections, will represent over 0.5% of GNP. Given our current economic circumstances this allocation represents a real commitment by the Government and people of Ireland to the world’s poorest people.

Through the overseas aid programme the Government provides assistance to over ninety countries worldwide. Nine have been designated as Programme Countries for Irish Aid, where we have a commitment to long term strategic assistance. These are Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia.

We are now in the process of allocating the overall budget for 2012, and therefore no individual country budgets have yet been identified. As has been the case in recent years however, the allocations to Irish Aid’s Programme Countries will be prioritised to the extent possible.

Ireland has a long-standing commitment to Lesotho, which dates from 1975. Since 2003, we have provided almost €90m in bilateral aid to the country. In 2011, the annual budget for Lesotho stood at approximately €10.7 million. I expect the allocation to fall slightly in 2012 although on a per capita basis Lesotho will remain one of our largest programmes.

This year we will continue to target priority areas such as the provision of health services for those infected with HIV and AIDS, measures to improve access to education, along with quality, and a programme that is helping to strengthen Government accountability to the citizens of Lesotho. Support will also be provided for disaster management as well as a programme to improve food production at the household and community level. An evaluation of the Country Programme will be conducted later this year which will help to inform our future strategy in Lesotho.

Question No. 113 withdrawn.

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