Commentator Glenn Beck has attacked the International Fund for Ireland funding for the Irish peace process as a boondoggle and a waste of time.
The Fox host stated that "In 1986 an earmark for Ireland was created for something called the International Fund for Ireland, created by the Irish and British to promote peace in Northern Ireland."
"Since 1996, U.S. taxpayers have contributed $280 million to the fund. It was raised to $17 million in 2010 — that's up $ 2 million from 2009. The original concerns of violence and poverty have long been gone, yet the money still flows in."
Beck's focus on the fund comes at a very bad time for the British and Irish governments who are seeking to prolong the funding for the fund which they believe plays a key role in helping reconciliation projects in Ireland at this critical time. Funding has run out after 2010.
On March 17th the Irish government sought to preserve the funding, which is due to expire, in meetings with White House officials and President Obama.
The European Union, Australia and New Zealand have also put funding into the International Fund believing that the Irish peace process is an example to the world how ethnic hatreds can be overcome and international funding can help.
Beck's call to defund however, is a setback for the continuation of the International Fund. He carries huge weight with a congress that is increasingly under pressure to end all earmarks.
The International Fund is separate from the American Ireland Fund which is an American based charity that also raises funds privately for worthy projects in Ireland.