Thursday, 13 December 2018
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
The Deputy has asked many good questions. The White Paper is more or less complete. I am reading drafts of it this week with a view to finalising a new Irish Aid development strategy, which will contain much new thinking as well as build on many of the good things the Irish Aid programme has been doing for decades.
We are also planning for a significant monetary increase to support our overseas development programme. The latest budget provided an increase of €110 million on the previous budget allocation across broader overseas development aid.
As the Deputy would expect, the new White Paper will prioritise areas such as gender equality, reducing humanitarian need, climate action, climate resilience and strengthening governance in different parts of the world. There will be new areas and a new focus on increased funding for areas such as education for girls, new initiatives on sexual and reproductive health and rights. We will have new funding streams relating to women's economic empowerment. There will be a focus on building a new institute for peace support and leadership training here in Ireland. There will be a greater emphasis on island states and climate resilience linked to that, given that Ireland is also an island state.
There has been a long and detailed consultation process in finalising a new strategy, which will have increased funding over the next decade. It will have new areas responding to the obvious challenges that get debated in this House regularly. I look forward to the Deputy's commentary on that. Of course, we need to try to ensure that domestic policy in Ireland is consistent with what we are trying to do elsewhere, whether that is from a climate perspective, a gender perspective, a reproductive rights perspective or whether it is transparency in taxation to ensure that large multinationals pay their fair share of tax. The Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, and the Taoiseach have been clear on that. There is an ongoing international debate on how tax reform should take place and Ireland is very much part of that.