Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Review of White Paper on Irish Aid: Statements, Questions and Answers
Martin Conway (Fine Gael)
I welcome the Minister of State. I was delighted when he was elevated to his current position. He was more than entitled to be promoted.
I would like to ask a specific question about the €639 million Ireland provides in overseas aid each year. Although that is not enough, it is significant nonetheless. How much of this money is given to projects that support people with disabilities in developing countries? We are making progress in ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. When we have ratified it, our responsibility to people with disabilities will not be confined to this country; it will extend to what we are doing with development aid abroad. I would like to see in the White Paper an increased emphasis on supporting projects in developing countries that promote equality and equality of opportunity among people with disabilities. Developing countries, as with others suffering from economic austerity, will be more than challenged in this regard. We can set the agenda by funding projects that benefit the lives of people with disabilities all over the world, especially those in developing countries. This White Paper is timely and welcome and affords us that opportunity. I would like to hear the Minister of State's thoughts on that.