Donor Profile


Last updated: January 20, 2024

ODA Spending

How much ODA does Ireland contribute?

In 2022, Ireland provided US$2.5 billion in ODA funding, according to the OECD’s preliminary figures. By volume, Ireland ranked 18th among DAC donors. In 2022 Ireland’s ODA/GNI ratio was 0.64%, ranking 7th among DAC countries.

How is Ireland's ODA changing?

Excluding in-donor refugee costs, support to Ukraine (starting in 2022), and COVID-19 vaccine dose donations (starting 2021), Ireland’s ODA/GNI ratio was 0.30% in 2022, far below Ireland’s commitment to reach a 0.7% ODA/GNI ratio by 2030.

How is Ireland's ODA allocated?

In 2022, US$1.8 billion, or 69% of Ireland’s ODA was spent on:

  • In-donor refugee costs ( US$1.3 billion, 51%);
  • Contributions to the EU (US$390 million, 15%);
  • Support to Ukraine ( US$57 million, 2%); and
  • COVID-19 vaccine dose donations ( US$20 million, 1%).

In comparison, the total DAC share for the 2022 was 25%, leaving US$800 million of ODA for development priorities.

In 2021, 54% of Ireland’s ODA was channeled bilaterally (including direct and earmarked funding), below the DAC average of 59%. Ireland’s share of ODA channeled as direct bilateral funding was 36%, compared to the 43% DAC average. In 2021, 46% of total gross ODA was core funding to multilaterals, compared to the DAC average of 41% in 2021. As a smaller economy, Ireland works to create an impact largely through EU institutions or larger multilaterals, and has historically seen multilaterals as an effective way to channel ODA.

Bilateral Spending

The top five partner countries in 2021 were Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi and Sierra Leone. All countries are part of Irish Aid's nine priority countries, which also include Lesotho, Uganda, Zambia and Vietnam.

Multilateral Spending and Commitments

In 2021, Ireland’s core funding to multilaterals was US$533 million, or 46% of total ODA.

What is the future of Ireland's ODA?

Ireland’s budget documents indicate an 18% increase from the development cooperation budget cooperation between 2022 and 2023, translating to a budgeted ODA of US$1.3 billion in 2023. The projected 2024 budget suggests a 62% increase in funding levels between 2023 and 2024, with ODA levels projected to rise to US$2.1 billion.

Politics & Priorities

What is the current state of Ireland's politics?

The current government is a coalition between Fine Gael (center right), Fianna Fáil (center right) and the Green Party and has been in power since 2020. The government is considered a centrist coalition. The current Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, is Leo Varadkar of Fine Gael, and the Tánaiste, or Deputy Prime Minister, is Michael Martin of Fianna Fáil. The Tánaiste is also the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Defense.

The current Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs, with responsibility for International Development and Diaspora, is TD Sean Fleming. He has been in this role since December 2022, and previously served as Minister of State at the Department of Finance.

The next general elections in Ireland will be held by March 2025, likely during the second half of 2024.

Who is responsible for allocating ODA?

Irish Aid is the Irish government's program for overseas development and is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Department of Foreign Affairs is responsible for policy shaping and implementation Irish Aid synthesizes proposals from CSOs and submits these to the Department of Finance for approval and negotiation across departments.

What are Ireland's development priorities?

In February 2019 Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and former Tánaiste Simon Coveney launched ‘A Better World: Ireland’s Policy for International Development’. A Better World Policy is the Irish government’s policy for international development. The policy highlights four key areas of focus:

  1. Humanitarian need;
  2. Gender equality;
  3. Climate action; and
  4. Strengthened governance.

Ireland’s development cooperation focuses on LDCs, particularly in "Sub-Saharan Africa". Ireland has nine partner countries: Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Zambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Vietnam.


There is an overall positive appreciation of Ireland’s international development spending among government ministers and members of parliament, as well as the general public. Ireland prides itself on its solidarity with the international community. As a country that has experienced colonialism, internal conflict, hunger and humanitarian issues, the Irish government sees it as its responsibility to help those now facing similar issues. The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has described Ireland as ‘a small country that dares to think big’. The CEO of Dochas, an umbrella organization for Irish CSOs, urged Ireland to play a leadership role in the international development space to increase action towards the achievement of the SDGs and to help those furthest behind.

Many of the strategy documents published by the government of Ireland include a foreword from the President, suggesting a whole of government approach to allocating ODA.

Budget Cycle

  • Before July: NGOs try to influence the budget estimate by submitting their plans to Irish Aid. Irish Aid will synthesize these submissions and centrally bring the plans to the negotiations in July-September.
  • July: The government departments submit budget proposals.
  • July-September: There are preliminary discussions on the proposals within the Department of Finance. The departments negotiate and reach a decision together with the Department of Finance.
  • October: The budget proposal is finalized and announced.

The 'Codebook for Donor Profile Data' presents the methodology and data sources used in each section of our Donor Profiles.

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At Donor Tracker, we prefer not to call it aid.

Our Ireland Experts

Lauren Ashmore

Lauren Ashmore

Associate Consultant

The Donor Tracker team, along with many DAC donor countries, no longer uses the term "foreign aid". In the modern world, "foreign aid" is monodirectional and insufficient to describe the complex nature of global development work, which, when done right, involves the establishment of profound economic and cultural ties between partners.

We strongly prefer the term Official Development Assistance (ODA) and utilize specific terms such as grant funding, loans, private sector investment, etc., which provide a clearer picture of what is concretely occurring. “Foreign aid” will be referenced for accuracy when referring to specific policies that use the term. Read more in this Donor Tracker Insight.

Issue Deep-Dives

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Our Ireland Experts

Lauren Ashmore

Lauren Ashmore

Associate Consultant