YESTERDAY, THE GOVERNMENT announced that it was suspending direct aid to the Ugandan government and investigating the loss of as much as €4 million which may have been misappropriated.
The news will raise new questions about funding devoted to Irish Aid. The budget this year is €639 million but this has been reduced dramatically since 2008 when it was close to €1 billion. Funding goes towards NGOs like Concern, GOAL and other missionary groups as well as building infrastructure and providing humanitarian assistance in developing countries.
But with Ireland currently facing a deficit of around €13 billion this year and subject to the strict conditions of an international bailout could the money devoted to helping other countries be used instead to address this deficit and help Ireland to emerge from the bailout sooner?
So our question is: Should Ireland distribute foreign aid while it is in a bailout?