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TheJournal.ie’s progress report for the Government: Foreign affairs, Europe

We look at the progress made by Eamon Gilmore and Lucinda Creighton in their pledges to change our wider relationships.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

1) WHAT THEY SAID DURING THE 2011 ELECTION CAMPAIGN

Labour said it would:

  • Maintain Ireland’s overseas development aid budget, and progress to a target of 0.7 per cent of GNP dedicated to ODA by 201
  • Review the 2006 White Paper on Irish Aid in order to learn from past successes and mistakes and formulate clear objectives for Ireland’s aid programme to 2020
  • Work with our EU partners to reform international financial regulation, and grow the European economy
  • Support the protection of human rights through our participation in international institutions
  • Support the United Nations while recognising the need for significant reform in the structure, and procedures, of the Security Council to reflect the global politics of the 21st century, including the international standing of the European Union
  • Pursue a policy of positive neutrality and will implement measures to restrict the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purposes not in line with the dictates of international law

FG said it would:

  • Review the implementation of the 2006 White Paper on Irish Aid with a view to addressing shortcomings and to build on successes
  • Restructure the Irish Aid Programme to ensure stricter funding criteria and to introduce a quality standard mark for aid delivery in countries involved in the programme
  • Unite NGOs during humanitarian crises to create a single appeals mechanism for national fundraising and public response. The state will financially support these NGOs in their response
  • Irish troops should be capable at short notice, if requested, to assist in emergency relief efforts at times of humanitarian crises and the Triple Lock system must be modified to allow Ireland participate in peacekeeping missions
  • Support carefully planned EU enlargement, though applicant countries must meet the criteria for accession in full
  • Support UN reforms to enhance decision-making processes and representation at the UN, including a stronger voice for the EU

2) WHAT THEY PROMISED IN THE PROGRAMME FOR GOVERNMENT

  • We commit to the 0.7 per cent of GNP target for Overseas Development Aid. We will seek to achieve this by 2015
  • We will review the 2006 White Paper on Overseas Development Aid
  • We will overhaul the student visa system and ensure advertising, diaspora policies and quality assurance systems are strategically developed to best position the international education sector
  • In times of humanitarian crises, we will unite NGOs that provide humanitarian aid to create a single appeals mechanism for national fundraising and public response. This will maximise publicity for the cause, the receipt of emergency funds and ensure the effective and co-ordinated dispersal of emergency aid. The State will financially support these NGOs in their response.
  • We will enforce the prohibition on the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purposes not in line with the dictates of international law

3) PROGRESS – OR LACK THEREOF – IN FIRST YEAR OF GOVERNMENT

  • The government earmarked Eur639 million to Irish Aid in 2012, or 0.5 per cent of projected GNP. This figure was down EUr20 million on 2011’s funding
  • The government is undertaking a review of the White Paper on Irish Aid and has launched the public consultation paper here: A series of public consultations are being held around the country in March and April
  • The Fiscal Compact Treaty, which will be put before the Irish electorate in a referendum, proposes tighter fiscal deficit measures and consolidation on tackling government deficits across the participating member states

Our full report: How did the government do in its first year? This is how.

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