The Changing Nature of Irish International Development Policy

Patrick Paul Walsh and Ciara Whelan

Chapter 11: The Oxford Handbook of Irish Politics,

Edited by David M. Farrell and Niamh Hardiman

The chapter examines the evolution of Ireland’s Overseas Development Aid (ODA) from its foundations in the early 1970s through to the present day. The chapter is structured in three parts. The first section considers the drivers of Ireland’s growing engagement with a transnational development-oriented policy agenda up to the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008. The key theme here is the emergence of the UN as a significant shaper of international development goals, culminating in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda of 2000. This was intended to run until 2015. Irish ODA policy developed in alignment with these objectives during the 1990s and 2000s. The second section profiles a shift in the nature of Ireland’s ODA policy commitments towards multilateralism since the global financial crisis in 2008. The milestone event in this phase is Ireland’s commitment to the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Agenda, ratified in 2015. The third section of the chapter considers the tensions in the alignment of Irish government’s commitments to the SDGs in policy at home and abroad over the coming decades.