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Irish Aid support critical as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on vulnerable communities

Beneficiaries washing hands in Rwanda as part of an Irish Aid-funded distribution of tools and face masks.
Olive Iradukunda washing her hands before attending the distribution of agricultural tools and face masks, as a prevention measure against COVID-19. This Irish Aid funded programme in Rwanda fast-tracked the disbursement of cash transfers to facilitate households’ ability to purchase hand washing equipment during the pandemic. Photo: Gaspard Uwumukiz /Concern Worldwide

Concern Worldwide welcomes the publication of Irish Aid’s annual report today which shows that Ireland’s development and humanitarian assistance reached more than 130 countries last year. As a key partner of Irish Aid, Concern is channelling this assistance on the ground in some of the world’s most fragile and resource deprived contexts.

“As the disruptive effect of COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on food security and livelihoods around the world, compounded by a worsening climate crisis, this support has never been so critical,” Concern Chief Executive Dominic MacSorley said.

Of particular significance in the report is the focus on gender equality, the prioritisation of protection within humanitarian programming and support for the prevention and response to gender based violence.

“As COVID-19 has had a disproportionately greater impact on women around the world, including bringing a ‘shadow pandemic’ of domestic violence, this focus is both strategic and urgent,” he said.

Ranked first

The publication of the report coincides with the release of the Principled Aid Index 2020, which is published by the London-based think tank, the Overseas Development Institute, and measures the balance between values and self-interest among donor nations. 

Ireland has long been known for its principled, values-driven overseas assistance and, for a second year in a row, is ranked first in the Index. However, the report also notes that there has been an overall decline in donor principled aid scores since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The coming year will be crucial for Ireland and all OECD nations to reverse this trend, to ensure that the furthest behind are not left behind as the wider effects of the pandemic continue to be felt around the world,” Mr MacSorley said.

For media queries contact Eamon Timmins, Media Relations Manager, Concern Worldwide, at or 087 9880524

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