Thursday, 26 February 2015

Ceisteanna (35)

Terence Flanagan

Ceist:

35. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he will provide an update regarding Irish Aid's spend for 2014; the checks and controls in place to ensure there is no fraud and that value for money is achieved for the taxpayer; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8087/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

Last Year the Government allocated almost €600 million for Official Development Assistance (ODA). €479 million was managed by my Department under Vote 27 – International Co-operation, while a further estimated €120 million is accounted for by ODA-eligible contributions by other Government Departments and Ireland’s share of the EU Development Co-operation Budget. The detailed expenditure data for 2014 are currently being collated and verified for ODA eligibility, and when finalised will be published in the statistical annexes to the Irish Aid Annual Report available at www.irishaid.ie.

Ireland’s aid programme is implemented in challenging, complex and indeed, inherently risky environments. My Department has implemented a comprehensive system of internal controls to mitigate against those risks, ensure the efficient and effective use of resources and deliver value for money. It operates rigorous systems for planning, monitoring, evaluating and auditing all funding provided for under the aid programme. Programmes are closely monitored at mission and headquarters level to ensure they deliver on the intended results, and are meeting our overall objective of contributing to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger in some of the poorest countries and communities in the world.

All expenditure is subject to audit by the Department’s Evaluation and Audit Unit which reports directly to the Secretary General of the Department. The work of the Evaluation and Audit Unit is overseen by the Department’s independent Audit Committee. All expenditure is also audited annually by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

While no system can safeguard completely against the incidence of fraud, I am satisfied that the Department has in place a comprehensive system of controls which ensures all expenditure provides value for money, and that funding provided under the aid programme is used to the greatest possible effect for the purposes intended.