Irish Aid

Irish Aid
Cúnamh Éireann

Iveagh House in Dublin, DFA headquarters
Agency overview
Formed 1974
Jurisdiction Government of Ireland
Headquarters Iveagh House, 80 St Stephen's Green, Dublin 2
Riverstone House, 23-27 Henry Street, Limerick
Employees 184 Irish Aid staff[1]
290 locally recruited staff[2]
Total: 474
Annual budget €640 million (2016 ODA)[3]
Agency executive
  • Michael Gaffey[4], Director-General
Parent agency Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Irish Aid (Irish: Cúnamh Éireann)[5] is the Government of Ireland's official agency for international development. Irish Aid is a division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) and is managed by its Development Co-Operation Division (DCD). The Irish Government allocated €640 million to official development assistance (ODA) in 2016, 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. Irish Aid is an integral part of Ireland's foreign policy.[6]

Priority areas of work

Ireland works towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and 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.

Partner countries

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.[8]

In 2014, more than 80 countries benefited from Irish bilateral aid.[9]

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

Organisational structure


Irish Aid employs permanent staff under contract with the Department of Foreign Affairs. Permanent staff are considered civil servants (diplomats). To work for Irish Aid, an employee generally must be a Masters graduate, and can enter the organisation through the Junior Professional Internship (JPI) scheme. Irish Aid employs a wide range of specialist staff, such as Senior Development Specialists and Agricultural Advisors. 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 €637.10 million in official development assistance (ODA) in 2013. This represented 0.46% of gross national product (GNP).

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][10]

In terms of gross national income (GNI), Ireland is the tenth highest global contributor of ODA as a percentage of GNI and the 19th highest international contributor overall. The government has set a target of reaching the UN Millennium Development Goal of 0.7% of GNP in foreign aid, a target which is projected to exceed €1.5 billion based on current GNP 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


  1. 1 2 "Department of Foreign Affairs Decentralisation Programme". Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 "Management Review - Final Report" (PDF). Irish Aid/Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  3. "Ministers Welcomes Increase in Ireland's Overseas Aid Budget". Irish Aid. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  4. 1 2 "Organisational Structure". Irish Aid. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  5. "Cúnamh Éireann". An Roinn Gnóthaí Eachtracha agus Trádála. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  6. 1 2 "Irish Aid". Dept of Foreign Affairs & Trade. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  7. "Our Priority Areas". Irish Aid. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  8. "'Countries Where We Work'". Irish Aid. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  9. "Where the Money Goes". Irish Aid. Retrieved 16 January 2016.
  10. "DFA Departmental Staff". Minister for Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 15 January 2016.

External links

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