Ireland Election – party manifesto promises for development aid

This post was written by Youth Ambassador Anthony Harmon McDonald from Wicklow.

It is Ireland’s General Election TODAY! And in the leadup there has been a lot of hype around different political parties and their policies for Ireland. But what can each of these parties do for international development and the world’s poorest people? If you’re still having trouble making your decision, fear not as I have searched through each manifesto and put all their foreign aid policies in this handy blog post!

Irish Youth Ambassadors with former Minister for Development Sean Sherlock

FIANNA FÁIL has a comprehensive section on Overseas Development Aid (ODA) in its manifesto. Micheál Martin and Co. will “commit to Ireland remaining a world-leader in development aid” and will earmark an additional €80m in ODA towards this goal or 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Furthermore, they promise to “invest further resources as economic growth increases.”

The biggest outgoing party in the coalition government, FINE GAEL, mention that they will continue to invest in ODA. Their manifesto states that the party “will continue to make progress towards achieving the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Product (GNP) for ODA” whilst pointing out that this will be “as resources allow.”

The GREEN PARTY, who currently have no seats in Dáil Éireann, have committed to ensuring “Ireland’s expenditure on ODA reaches 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) by 2020.”

The smaller party in the coalition government, LABOUR, have pledged to “increase our ODA budget by at least €200 million as we move towards the UN target of 0.7% of GNI.”

RENUA IRELAND’s manifesto has little reference to ODA, with the only mention coming in the form of that ODA has helped in the “building of Ireland’s soft power overseas” but that it “should not dictate the future of Irish policy unless there are clear benefits.”

SINN FÉIN has committed to increasing ODA funding and aims to “bring forward a targeted plan to ensure that Ireland reaches its commitments on Overseas Development Aid.”

The SOCIAL DEMOCRATS and the ANTI AUSTERITY ALLIANCE/PROFIT BEFORE PROFIT grouping have no mention of ODA in their manifestos.

So what can you do to ensure that politicians and political parties commit to what they are promising?

By signing the ONE Vote petition, you can help us get as many new TDs as possible to commit to helping end extreme poverty by 2030!

Economics geeks (like me!) will have noticed that all the parties mention different economic measures in their manifestos; Gross National Product (GNP), Gross National Income (GNI) and Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GNP and GNI are used interchangeably and measure the levels of production of any person or corporation of a country, even if production occurs abroad. Gross Domestic Product excludes the income of Irish-owned businesses overseas. For reference; as of 2013, Ireland’s GDP was $232.1 billion and GNP/GNI was $180.4 billion.

ONE Vote is a project of ONE Action.