THE REPUBLIC of Ireland is to quadruple its contribution to the World Health Organisation, the Minister for Foreign Affairs has said today.
Minister and Tánaiste Simon Coveney announced that Ireland would be quadrupling its usual annual funding to the health service for the year 2020 for a total of €9.5 million.
Announcing the decision in a short statement on Twitter, the Fine Gael politician wrote that the Republic "strongly supports" the World Health Organisation "in efforts to coordinate a global response to combat #COVID19".
#Ireland strongly supports @WHO in efforts to coordinate a global response to combat #COVID19. So many countries rely on @UN expertise and capacity to save lives. Ireland is quadrupling our normal annual financial contribution to @WHO for 2020 to €9.5 million.
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) April 16, 2020
"So many countries rely on [the United Nation's] expertise and capacity to save lives."
The Director General of the World Health Organisation has since thanked Mr Coveney and the people of Ireland for the support, saying it will help contribute towards "a healthier, safer world".
Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus took to Twitter where he said "Huge thanks to Tánaiste Simon Coveney and the people of Ireland for your continuous support to @WHO, and for your increased contribution for 2020 to 9.5 million.
Huge thanks to 🇮🇪 Tánaiste @simoncoveney and the people of #Ireland for your continuous support to @WHO, and for your increased contribution for 2020 to €9.5 million. Together, against #COVID19! Together, for a healthier, safer world!https://t.co/HWQNTME3ha
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) April 16, 2020
"Together, against #COVID19! Together, for a healthier, safer world!"
Mr Coveney's announcement comes after the USA halted funding to the World Health Organisation in a highly contentious move by President Donald Trump, who said financial contributions would be withheld as it was too China-centric and had 'failed in its basic duty'.
Mr Trump's decision had drawn anger and disbelief from leaders across the world, including Tánaiste Simon Coveney, who at the time described the move as an "indefensible decision" in the midst of a global crisis.
"So many vulnerable populations rely on [The World Health Organisation]," Mr Coveney had said.
"Deliberately undermining funding & trust now is shocking. Now is a time for global leadership & unity to save lives,not division and blame".
Ireland's Minister for Health Simon Harris has also expressed his support for the WHO, saying the country is "absolutely" behind it and will continue to offer its support.
"Now is not a time for countries to be taking pot-shots at an organisation that is working on a global level to save lives," he said.
"And particularly working to help poorer countries, and they need our support."