“No less than in Ireland, communities in the Global South have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic”, Mr. Moffett said. “Lockdowns have stifled economic activity. For the many people in developing countries who live from day to day, this has presented a massive challenge. Schools have been forced to close, and the worry now is that children may not return as they open again. In the midst of these challenges, development aid from Ireland, dispersed through various channels including Irish non-governmental organisations (NGOs) such as Misean Cara, has proved a lifeline for many living on the margins. The addition of a further €30m to next year’s aid budget, when so many challenges are faced at home in Ireland, is nothing short of an act of global solidarity”.
The development NGO community had been concerned about the fate of the overseas aid budget for 2021. “The Government in Ireland is facing enormous and unprecedented challenges”, added Mr. Moffett, “and we were worried that the aid budget would take a hit. Instead, the government has recognised the global nature of the impact of COVID-19, and acted accordingly”.
In 2019, with funding of €15.5m from Irish Aid, the Irish Government’s official aid programme, Misean Cara supported over 350 projects in 55 countries, implemented by 54 of its Irish missionary member organisations. “These are life-changing projects in education, health, livelihoods, human rights and emergency response, working with marginalised and vulnerable people in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean. When COVID-19 hit earlier this year, our members responded quickly in meeting the immediate needs of the communities they support. This vital work needs to carry on so that families can overcome the impact of the pandemic and get their livelihoods and their education back on track. The signal from the Government in Budget 2021 is that they will continue to support the work of overseas development. This is most welcome and reassuring”, stated Moffett.