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Concern welcomes Taoiseach's renewed commitment

Concern welcomes Taoiseach's commitment to stick to aid target even in difficult economic situation.

Concern Worldwide CEO, Tom Arnold, has welcomed Taoiseach Brian Cowen’s New Year Message in which he re-affirmed the government’s commitment to stick with providing 0.7% of GNP to the aid programme by 2012.

Economic downturn

“Everyone is conscious that the current economic downturn will have a serious impact on living standards, employment and public finances in Ireland during 2009. Any programme to stabilise the situation and prepare for an eventual recovery must take account of core principles of equity and burden sharing across all sectors of Irish society.”

Solidarity with world's poorest

Mr Arnold continued “The Taoiseach’s re-statement of the government’s commitment to meet the 0.7% aid target by 2012 is consistent with such an approach. In the current difficult economic and fiscal situation, a politically easy option could be to renege on this commitment. But that would be at the expense of many of the world’s poorest people. 

Over the past year, high food and energy prices and now the economic downturn has brought the number of poor people who go to bed hungry every night up to one billion. All developed countries, even in their own current difficult circumstances, must maintain solidarity with these people. Ireland’s willingness to provide a lead in so doing is to be welcomed and has, I believe, the support of all the political parties and of the Irish people."

Concern's work  

Concern has a staff of 4,000 people in 140 locations in 28 of the world’s poorest countries. Last year Concern spent nearly €110 million on its overseas work in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. This work focused on key development and emergency programmes in health, education and food and income security.