Tuesday 28 February 2017

Letters: Most of us believe that foreign aid is a good thing

Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Buddhist monks salvage a statue of a Buddhist deity from a monastery around the famous Swayambhunath stupa after it was damaged by Saturday's earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal.
Buddhist monks salvage a statue of a Buddhist deity from a monastery around the famous Swayambhunath stupa after it was damaged by Saturday's earthquake in Kathmandu, Nepal.

I very much welcome Eamon Delaney's argument that Ireland should give more much-needed aid to Nepal, but I regret that he does so on the basis of a misunderstanding of what development aid is for and what Irish people think about it ('Let's give more to Nepal, not to corrupt African regimes', Irish Independent, April 29).

Mr Delaney ignores the fact that the overwhelming majority of people in this country believe international solidarity and development cooperation are a good thing. We know this from opinion polls, but more importantly, we know this by the consistently high levels of financial support people give to Ireland's development NGOs.

He also seems unaware that the aid budget has been cut by successive governments, so that the amounts he quotes in his article are factually incorrect. And, finally, he also misrepresents the position of the Oireachtas Committee on Public Accounts which did indeed ask some "hard questions" of overseas aid but ended up concluding that the standards being applied to Ireland's overseas aid programme are higher than those being applied to government and charity work in Ireland.

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