SLIP writes to Ministers Coveney and Brophy re 0.7% GNI Overseas Development Assistance:
Minister Simon Coveney, T.D.
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
80, St. Stephen’s Green
Dublin 2, D02 VY53.
Re: Towards 0.7% GNI Overseas Development Assistance
10th September 2020
Dear Minister Coveney,
The Sierra Leone Ireland Partnership have advocated for Sierra Leone in Ireland for the past thirty years. We have done so since the devastating civil war during the 1990s, during the terrible Ebola epidemic 2013 to 2015 and during devastating climate catastrophes such as the Mudslide in Freetown in 2017 and we continue to be active in the midst of COVID19 pandemic. SLIP have brought together Sierra Leoneans and Irish people who have worked in Sierra Leone (missionaries and development workers/volunteers) over the past three decades on an annual basis. We have run seminars, awareness raising events and the annual Sierra Leone Independence day event. We continue to advocate for Sierra Leoneans integrating into Ireland including reaching out to those in direct provision (refer to website at www.slip.ie for more information on our work).
We welcome the commitment of the Irish Government in relation to overseas development assistance (ODA) ‘to make annual, sustainable progress, ultimately achieving the UN target of 0.7% of Gross National Income by 2030.’ (Programme for Government, Our Shared Future p.129). We are writing to you at this time to call for a specific commitment to continue and increase Ireland’s aid commitment to Sierra Leone which has an overall ‘focus on the empowerment of women and girls’ (Irish Aid, Ireland in Sierra Leone: Mission Strategy 2019-2023).
We note and welcome that Ireland secured the required number of votes (128 of 193 countries) to secure a seat at the UN Security Council for the two year term 2021-2022. Whilst the vote was secret ballot, it is likely Sierra Leone (part of the Africa caucus) supported Ireland’s bid for the seat, as a partner country for Irish Aid.
We also welcome the recent appointment of Dr. Sinead Walsh as Deputy Director General for Irish Aid and for Africa. Dr. Walsh was the first Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone (2011-2016) and served in Sierra Leone during one of its most difficult periods, the Ebola epidemic. Sinead established excellent relations between the embassy in Freetown and SLIP and these valuable connections continue today. We wish her all the best in her new post.
Sierra Leone Ireland Partnership
CC: Minister Colm Brophy T.D., Minister of State for Overseas Development and the Diaspora.