Fianna Fáil has repeated its call for an overhaul of the Overseas Development Aid (ODA) auditing system, following allegations that €4 million of Irish aid was misappropriated by the Ugandan Government.

The party’s Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Brendan Smith has said it is particularly worrying that the alleged misuse of Irish taxpayers’ money was not discovered by Irish officials, but has only come to light due to an investigation by authorities in Uganda.

“Ireland spends approximately €40 million annually in Uganda and we need to ensure that our taxpayers’ money reaches those who are most in need,” said Deputy Smith. 

“We have a proud record of helping developing countries and we need a strong system to ensure value for money and effectiveness in our ODA budget.  Currently, there is no external oversight of the funding allocated by Irish Aid.  Audits are mainly carried out by Irish Aid itself.  There is a clear need for reform of this process, and this latest development in Uganda is further evidence of this. 

“Fianna Fáil proposed as recently as May that oversight of the ODA budget be carried out by the Comptroller and Auditor General or by officials at the Department of Finance.  The process must also take into account the effectiveness of the money we spend in developing countries so that our funds get to those who need help most. These proposals were contained in the Fianna Fáil White Paper Submission on Irish Aid in this year”