Thursday, 13 December 2018
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
The aid programme is all about action. The Deputy knows a considerable amount about the Irish Aid programme because she takes an interest in it. Anybody who takes the time to visit some of our programmes, particularly in Africa, but also now increasingly in the Middle East, will know it is all about action and getting to the people who need it most. That is why we can more than justify a significant step-by-step increase over time in the funding we provide for that development aid programme between now and the end of the decade.
I share the Deputy's hope that aid will not be needed in the future, but at this stage it is a dream and a long way away from a reality. I can be corrected on this, but my understanding is that approximately 134 million people are currently reliant on international aid. There are millions of people in refugee camps and millions on the move. They are economic migrants and migrants fleeing conflict. I suspect there will be an increasing focus on those incredibly vulnerable people.
Unfortunately, there is a broader link. This is not just about economic development, it is also about stabilisation and post-conflict management, matters upon which Ireland will be focusing.