• I am very concerned about suggestions made by Senator O Domhnall about cutting overseas aid. I completely appreciate that Ireland is in financial difficulty at the moment, but also believe that it is imperative that we maintain our commitment to the poorest and the most vulnerable.
I concede the Government may need to make cuts in spending, but I urge that these instead focus on those who will be properly able to pay. I understand that aid has already been cut by 32pc. I would also like to remind the Government that our overseas aid includes our backing of the United Nations, the World Bank and the European Union's foreign policies. These are important vis-a-vis Ireland's international standing.
It is important to maintain our international commitments just as we maintain our national commitments. It is also important to note the real need of persons, say in the Sahel, and assure that our response is as generous as is possible. The poorest countries had little to do with the financial crisis, and they should not suffer unduly as a result.