Irish Aid

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Irish Aid
Irish: Cúnamh Éireann
Irish Aid logo.jpg
Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Ireland).jpg
Iveagh House in Dublin, DFA headquarters
Agency overview
JurisdictionGovernment of Ireland
HeadquartersIveagh House, 80 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
Riverstone House, 23-27 Henry Street, Limerick
Employees184 Irish Aid staff[1]
290 locally recruited staff[2]
Total: 474
Annual budget€651 million (2017 ODA)[3]
Agency executive
  • Ruairi De Burca[4], Director-General
Parent agencyDepartment of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Irish Aid (Irish: Cúnamh Éireann)[5] is the Government of Ireland's official international development aid programme. Irish Aid is managed by the Development Co-Operation and Africa Division (DCAD) of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) . The Irish Government allocated €651 million to official development assistance (ODA) in 2017, mainly focused on overseas aid to reduce poverty and hunger, and to improve education, healthcare and governance in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. The Irish Aid programme is an integral part of Ireland's foreign policy.[6]

Priority areas of work[edit]

Ireland works towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals as set out by the United Nations. Accordingly, Irish Aid's priority areas are; Ending Poverty, Hunger, Gender Equality, Environment and Climate Change, Health, HIV/AIDS, Governance and Human Rights, Education, Trade and Economic Growth, Agriculture, Water and Sanitation.[7]

Irish Aid also responds to humanitarian crisis around the world, including locations not in their area of operations, through humanitarian relief/assistance and supporting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with multilateral aid. The Irish Aid Rapid Response Corps (RRC) is a team of highly skilled and experienced professionals available to deploy at short notice to humanitarian emergencies anywhere in the world, working with the UNHCR, WFP, OCHA and UNICEF to identify and fill specific skills gaps in emergencies.

Ireland sits on the OECD's 30-member Development Assistance Committee (DAC).[8]

Partner countries[edit]

The main focus of Irish Aid is on Sub-Saharan Africa. Long-term development assistance has been established in nine "Key Partner Countries", these are;

Irish Aid also works in a number of other countries affected by conflict, including; Liberia, Palestine, South Africa, Timor Leste and Zimbabwe.[9]

In 2014, more than 80 countries benefited from Irish bilateral aid.[10]

Irish Aid operates its assistance programmes through the network of Ireland's overseas diplomatic missions.

Organisational structure[edit]

  • Director General
  • Multilateral Unit
  • Humanitarian Unit
  • Civil Society & Development Education
  • Planning & Performance Unit
  • Bilateral Cooperation Unit West & East Africa
  • Bilateral Cooperation Unit Southern Africa, Asia & Palestine
  • Evaluation & Audit
  • Policy Coherence & Research Unit[4]


The Irish Aid programme is managed by staff of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Recruitment is generally managed through the Public Appointments Services, with some positions advertised directly by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on their website. Most positions are for permanent employment, and include general civil service, diplomat and development specialist positions. There are also temporary two-years contracts through the Junior Professional Internship (JPI) scheme. There are 145 permanent posts attached to Irish Aid's domestic headquarters in Dublin and Limerick in the Republic of Ireland.[1] There are 39 permanent posts (excluding locally recruited staff) within Irish Aid missions in nine programme countries and a further 290 locally recruited overseas staff across all missions. This brings the agency's total number of employees to 474.[2]


Ireland allocated €651 million in official development assistance (ODA) in 2017.[11] This represents 0.36% of gross national income (GNI).

Since the beginning of the millennium there has been a rapid expansion in the scale and scope of Ireland's development assistance programme which has seen the foreign aid budget rise from €255 million in 2000 to €914 million in 2008, more than a three and a half fold increase in less than a decade.[2][12]

In terms of GNI, Ireland is the 12th highest global contributor of ODA as a percentage of GNI and the 19th highest international contributor overall (2015 figures). The government has set a target of reaching the UN Millennium Development Goal of 0.7% of GNI in foreign aid,[13] a target which is projected to exceed €1.5 billion based on current economic growth if achieved.


Irish Aid's headquarters in Ireland are at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Iveagh House, 80 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2 and Riverstone House, 23-27 Henry Street, Limerick. Irish Aid has permanent offices in Irish embassies in; Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Department of Foreign Affairs Decentralisation Programme". Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "Management Review - Final Report" (PDF). Irish Aid/Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Minister Flanagan & MoS McHugh announce €10m in additional funding for ODA in 2017". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b "Organisational Structure". Irish Aid. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Cúnamh Éireann". An Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus Trádála. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Irish Aid". Dept of Foreign Affairs & Trade. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Our Priority Areas". Irish Aid. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  8. ^ "DAC member profile: Ireland". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  9. ^ "'Countries Where We Work'". Irish Aid. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Where the Money Goes". Irish Aid. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  11. ^ Mac Cormaic, Ruadhán (11 October 2016). "Budget 2017: State to increase overseas aid spending to €651m". The Irish Times. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  12. ^ "DFA Departmental Staff". Minister for Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  13. ^ McEnroe, Juno (27 September 2015). "Enda Kenny promises 0.7% of GNP for overseas aid". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 5 January 2017.

External links[edit]