21. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the extent to which all Irish aid, bilateral and general, has successfully been delivered to those for whom it was intended in all locations throughout Africa, the Middle East, Haiti and-or other locations that have suffered disaster in recent years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 11575/18 asked on 08 Mar 2018)

Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Deputy Ciarán Cannon): Ireland’s humanitarian assistance focuses on providing timely and effective support to the most vulnerable and hard to reach populations experiencing severe humanitarian disasters and emergencies. Ireland pays particular attention to the needs of those enduring protracted crises, and those in crises no longer at the forefront of public attention but where needs are great.

Over the past five years, significant levels of funding have been provided in response to the crises in Syria (over €90 million), South Sudan (over €50 million) and Somalia (over €34 million), in particular. Ireland is also a significant funder of the responses in Iraq, Yemen and the Democratic Republic of Congo which, together with Syria, are currently categorized under the highest level alert in the humanitarian system. Ireland provided €2 million for humanitarian needs in Haiti in 2016, in response to Hurricane Matthew.

In addition to our earmarked funding to these and other crises, Ireland is a strong supporter of the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), a global pooled funding mechanism which is one of the fastest and largest enablers of life-saving humanitarian action for people affected by conflict and natural disasters around the world. The CERF, to which Ireland contributed €22 million in 2017, enables humanitarian partners to immediately jump-start or scale up urgent aid in new or rapidly deteriorating emergencies.

Ireland’s humanitarian assistance is needs-based, with an annual categorisation of need identifying the highest priorities for the allocation of funds and highlighting areas where early funding is required: in addition, Ireland can and does respond to emergency situations, such as the devastation caused by the Caribbean hurricanes last year.

In 2018, Ireland will continue to provide humanitarian support to the most severe ongoing crises, as well as reacting to sudden-onset crises or sudden spikes in humanitarian need due to conflict or natural disasters. Our focus on forgotten and underfunded crises will remain, and it is anticipated that we will continue to provide support to crises such as the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Lake Chad and Sudan. Ireland will also continue to work to ensure that our assistance is targeted at and reaches those in greatest need, in the most efficient and effective way possible.