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Where the Money Goes

To help achieve our goal of eradicating poverty and hunger in the world’s poorest countries, the Government allocates significant funding to our aid programme. Most of this funding is managed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through Irish Aid. Our Irish Aid 2017 Annual Report gives a detailed analysis of how and where this money is spent.

Refugees gather supplies  

  • Our spending in 2017
  • How we spend our aid
  • Monitoring
  • Transparency

Our spending in 2017

Our spending in 2017

In 2017, the Government spent €743.42 million on Ireland’s aid programme. This is called Official Development Assistance (ODA) and represented 0.32% of Gross National Product (GNP) or 32 cents in every €100 that the country produces. €490 million of this funding was managed by Irish Aid, a Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  €252 million was allocated through other government departments, mainly the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the Department of Finance, and through Ireland’s contribution to the EU Development Co-operation Budget.

Our overall expenditure is further broken down between Bilateral ODA (the funding spent directly on developing countries) and Multilateral ODA (our contributions to international agencies).   In 2017, €437million was spent on Bilateral ODA.

Our Irish Aid 2017 Annual Report gives a detailed analysis of Ireland’s aid programme. It includes a detailed financial breakdown on how the funding was spent, which regions and countries benefitted and the main partners funded.

Some key facts -  2017

  • Total Official Development Assistance: €743.42 million
  • Ireland contributed 0.32% of GNP to ODA
  • Over 80 countries benefitted from Irish Bilateral ODA
  • Of the OECD donors, Ireland provides the 12th highest per cent of its GNP to ODA, coming in ahead of countries such as Australia, Canada and Japan.
  • 56% of Ireland’s total ODA is channelled through carefully selected multilateral partners; 22% through Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and 7% through national systems of our partner countries.

How we spend our aid

How we spend our aid

The aim of Ireland’s aid programme is to reduce poverty and hunger, particularly in sub- Saharan Africa where the needs are greatest. It supports longterm development and provides humanitarian assistance in over eighty of the world’s poorest countries.

Most of the funding is spent on agriculture and nutrition programmes, health and HIV, education services, and on providing much-needed humanitarian assistance in emergencies situations.

Our programme is delivered by a variety of partners and organisations. In our partner countries we work closely with governments, local authorities and communities.  We also work closely with a wide range of national and international Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to contribute to the eradication of poverty, hunger and human rights violations.  Their reach into poor and marginalised communities and their capacity to respond, especially in humanitarian situations, makes them important partners

We also give significant support through the UN and EU, which allows us to engage at a global level and provide assistance to areas outside our partner countries.

We channel our aid in a number of ways: through government systems in partner countries, through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society organizations and through multilateral organsiations including the UN agencies.‌


How we monitor our spending

We are accountable to the Oireachtas and other institutions for our expenditure on aid.  Our programme is regularly examined and evaluated in order to ensure it achieves effectiveness and value for money. This is done by:

  • auditors based in programme country offices;
  • the evaluation and audit team at headquarters;
  • international audit firms which Irish Aid commissions to carry out audits;
  • the national audit offices of our partner Governments;
  • the  Audit Committee of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In addition our aid is spending is monitored by and reported on by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation’s Development’s Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC). The DAC performs an important function in monitoring aid commitments globally including with respect to the efficiency and effectiveness of the support provided. 


Irish Aid is Transparent

In our Annual Report each year we provide detailed information in the form of text, tables and case studies that show how the Irish Aid budget for that year is spent. In addition, in line with our commitment to aid transparency, outlined in Ireland’s policy on Development Cooperation One World One Future, Irish Aid publishes detailed information on its aid programme in the internationally agreed format. For more information on this format and other development actors publications, please visit the website of the International Aid Transparency Initiative

The following data files are now published and registered on the IATI website. The format used is the required XML format.

This data is registered to the IATI Registry. In accessing this data, users need to be aware of the following:

  • A full analysis of Ireland’s ODA for 2016, including ODA managed by other Government Departments, is available in the statistical annexes to the Irish Aid Annual Report‌.‌
  • Names of individuals and / or service providers are not published.
  • The most recent expenditure data published has not been audited.  
  • Budget data for the current year is for planning purposes only and may be subject to change.

Read more

Download the detailed breakdown on how the funding was spent, which regions and countries benefitted and the main partners funded in 2017 in the Annexes of our Irish Aid 2017 Annual Report.