Letter to the Editor: Maintain Ireland’s continued commitment to helping world's most vulnerable

22 may 2020

As discussions to form a new Irish government continue this week, we, 34 leaders from the Irish Association of International NGOs, Dóchas, urge those undertaking talks to ensure Ireland’s continued commitment to helping the most vulnerable around the world.

Over the last two months we have again witnessed the extraordinary sense of community and giving across the country in times of crisis.

We ask that as we come through the crisis our political leaders ensure that Ireland continues to extend this sense of generosity and kindness globally as we always have done as a nation.

The scale and impact of Covid-19 is slowly emerging in many of the countries in which we work, not just as a health crisis but also as an economic, political and social one with huge implications for communities and societies living in some of the poorest parts of the world.

The UN’s World Food Programme is already warning that the number of people acutely in need of food could double to 265m.

We also know that unless we defeat this virus everywhere we will defeat it nowhere.

We have no doubt that tough financial decisions lie ahead for those who will form a new government in the face of the economic impact of Covid-19.

But we are asking, as we have in the past, that Ireland joins other countries in showing solidarity with the most vulnerable communities and nations by keeping global development at the core of its response, including protecting the overseas development assistance budget.

Ireland has a reputation of punching above its weight in terms of foreign policy and international cooperation, thanks in no small part to our long-standing commitment to global development.

This is something we must continue to cherish and preserve.

Suzanne Keatinge, CEO, Dóchas; Finola Finnan, chair, Dóchas, deputy CEO, Trócaire; Siobhán McGee, CEO, ActionAid Ireland; Margaret Meagher, chair, Aiding Resources; Martin Ballantyne, CEO, Brighter Communities Worldwide; Sarah O’Toole, CEO, CBM Ireland; Richard Moore, CEO, Children in Crossfire; Rosamund Bennett, CEO, Christian Aid Ireland; Mark Cumming, CEO, Comhlámh; Dominic MacSorely, CEO, Concern Worldwide; Bobby McCormack, CEO, Development Perspectives; Andrew Anderson, CEO, Front Line Defenders; Siobhan Walsh, CEO, Goal; Jenny Williams, CEO, Habitat for Humanity Northern Ireland; Maureen Forrest, hon director, The Hope Foundation; Sarah Lennon, executive director, Irish Council for International Students; Frank Geary, CEO, IDEA; Alan Moore, CEO, Irish League of Credit Unions; Liam O’Dwyer, secretary general, Irish Red Cross; John Moffett, CEO, Misean Cara; Mary Cunningham, CEO, National Youth Council of Ireland; Jim Clarken, CEO, Oxfam Ireland; Paul O’Brien, CEO, Plan International Ireland; Ray Jordan, CEO, Self Help Africa; Gerard O’Connor, chair, SERVE; Ciara Smullen, interim CEO, Sightsavers Ireland; Sean Copeland, acting CEO, Tearfund Ireland; Caoimhe de Barra, CEO, Trócaire; Peter Power, executive director, Unicef; John Weakliam, CEO, Vita; Mike Burke, CEO, Viva; Helen Walmsley, CEO, Voluntary Service International; Niall McLoughlin, CEO, World Vision Ireland; David Backhouse, dep national secretary, YMCA.