Goal CEO John O’Shea is strongly advocating that the Irish government follow the example of its German and Swedish counterparts, and suspend contributions to the Global Fund against Aids, TB and Malaria.
Mr O’Shea was reacting to reports that billions of dollars may have been lost to corrupt officials in the developing world through poor accounting on the part of the Global Fund.
The Irish government has thus far contributed over €115 million to the fund – in 2008, its annual contributions were raised to €25 million. Both Germany and Sweden have suspended their respective annual contributions of €200 million and €60 million. The investigative arm of the US Congress has strongly criticised the Global Fund’s lack of accounting.
O’ Shea said, “It is absolutely disgraceful that large amounts of monies donated to the Global Fund for the fight against killer diseases appear to have been stolen or misused. As Germany and Sweden have done, the Irish government must immediately suspend all contributions until the results of a comprehensive investigation are known - and until it is certain that proper accounting mechanisms have been put in place.
“Far too often the Irish government seems to ignore reports of corruption or brutality in the developing world, and continues to donate Irish taxpayers’ money regardless.”
The GOAL CEO gave examples, “After 193 human rights demonstrators were killed by Ethiopian police in 2005, other donor governments suspended their aid contributions, yet our government continued channelling aid through the Ethiopian regime.
“The highly reputable Human Rights Watch (HRW) organisation released a report in October 2010 detailing how food aid is being withheld from citizens in Ethiopia who cannot prove that they support the ruling regime. The HRW report was dismissed out-of-hand by senior officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs.”
John O’Shea continued, “The Irish government is far too willing to take the word of dodgy regimes and inept organisations when allegations of wrongdoing are raised. For once, it should stand up for what is right.
“That this government will soon be leaving office is no excuse. We are talking about Irish taxpayers’ money. It is the duty of the government to ensure that every cent is properly accounted for. If the government cannot do that, particularly in light of the economic situation at home, then it must stop making the donations until such times as it can.”