Press Releases

Oxfam Ireland Media Reactive: Budget 2021


Responding to the announcement of Budget 2021, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland Jim Clarken said:

“We welcome the increase of €30 million in Official Development Assistance (ODA) in Budget 2021. It is very positive, that even in these most challenging of times, Ireland has chosen to demonstrate international solidarity with the most vulnerable communities around the globe. The world's poorest people are being hardest hit by the COVID-19 crisis as its economic fallout threatens to push half a billion more people into poverty. It has never been more important to continue to champion ODA.

“As indicated by Minister McGrath in his speech today, this commitment to overseas aid together with our seat on the UN Security Council will enhance and strengthen Ireland’s presence internationally.

"While we welcome Ireland's commitments globally, we also welcome the commitment at a national level regarding funding for Tusla in support of children and young people seeking international protection. We would urge the Government to use this funding to ensure the urgent relocation of the remaining 26 unaccompanied minors stranded on the Greek islands to Ireland as commited to in March.

"With the onset of COVID-19 undermining the global fight against poverty, inequality and the climate crisis, global support and solidarity has become more important than ever. In the COVID-19 response, we cannot say we are safe, until we’re all safe and we welcome the announcements within Budget 2021 today which spoke to this."

ENDS

Contact

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

Alice Dawson-Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869

Notes to the Editor:

Oxfam Ireland spokespeople will be available for interviews, analysis and comment on a number of issues included in our Pre-Budget Submission.

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100% animal free jackets hitting select Oxfam Ireland shops this week!

Ethical winter goodies - Oxfam Ireland’s team up with Save The Duck

Oxfam Ireland are delighted to announce the launch of a collaboration with their 4 Good Sustainable Business initiative and Save The Duck - which will see a colourful range of high-quality 100% animal free outdoor wear available in select Oxfam shops from today, 8 October.

The Save The Duck jackets in Oxfam shops are unique to the Irish market and will be retailing at 60 percent off the recommended retail price. The new range will be of particular interest to shoppers concerned with environmental and sustainability issues, planet lovers, fashion lovers and outdoorsy adventurers alike. 

Elaine White, Stock Sustainability Manager with Oxfam Ireland said: “It is great to collaborate with a company like Save The Duck who pride themselves on luxury as ‘a matter of quality of life and connection to the beauty of nature’. The company set a world record by being the first entirely animal free clothing to ascend Everest in the history of mountaineering, and now Oxfam are delighted to bring them to our customers across Ireland at a fantastic price.”

In 2019 Save The Duck become the first fashion brand in Italy to obtain B Corp certification meaning they put social and environmental impact objectives on par with economic-financial ones.

White continued: “Under our 4 Good Sustainable Business model, the collaboration was a natural fit as we both aim to protect our planet and its people, and both believe in transparent business models and the responsible management of natural resources in production processes.

“Through our network of shops across the island of Ireland, our Trading team work with retail businesses to divert textiles and other goods from landfill or incineration, transforming would-be greenhouse gas emissions into vital funds that support communities affected by the climate crisis worldwide. 

“By donating end-of-line or excess stock to our retail network, companies cut down on their waste and therefore their carbon footprint by reducing pollutants that end up in our soil, water and air.”

The Save The Duck jackets will be available in select Oxfam shops this week. To avoid disappointment, Oxfam Shop managers advise customers to get down soon to secure a unique and ethical winter bargain - that’s ‘Good 4 You, Good 4 the Planet’.

The Save the Duck range will be available in the following Oxfam shops:  

Belfast, Northern Ireland: Botanic Avenue; Castle Court; Fountain Street.  

Republic of Ireland: Cooks Street, Cork; Dun Laoghaire, Dublin; Galway; Georges Street, Dublin; Malahide, Dublin; Limerick; Rathmines, Dublin; Kilkenny 

If you are a retail business or company who wants to learn more about Oxfam Ireland’s 4 Good Sustainable Business initiative or are interested in becoming a Business Leader in Sustainability contact Elaine.white@oxfam.org.

ENDS

Contact for media queries

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | 087 912 3165

Notes to the editor 

  • Learn more about:

Oxfam Shops

Save The Duck

  • Oxfam retail partners are part of a global movement for change, working to put the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the heart of their corporate, social, environmental and sustainability strategies. They are helping to tackle the issues arising from the over- production and consumption of textiles, championing a fairer, more sustainable world. 
  • These partners are also helping to directly improve the lives of millions of people worldwide by supporting Oxfam’s work to combat poverty and injustice. 
  • Save The Duck take care of the environment and all its inhabitants; promoting a transparent business model that manages natural resources responsibly. 
  • In 2019 Save The Duck was voted Company of the Year 2019 by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) for their 100% animal-free quilted jacket brand. 
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Ireland one of only 29 countries to respond to Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan 2020

  • Donors slash funding to Yemen by half to 21 cents a day per person in need

  • Catastrophic impact of cuts to funding already being felt – Oxfam

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Donors have given the equivalent of 21 cents per day for each of the 24.3 million people in need in Yemen, almost half the amount given last year, Oxfam warned today.

The dramatic cuts come despite COVID-19 heaping further challenges on a country already suffering the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.

In contrast to some donors cutting their contribution to the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan by almost 50 percent in 2020, the Irish government has nearly matched its 2019 commitment.

More than a third of the UN’s humanitarian programmes have already been cut back, with some completely shut down between April and August due to the funding shortage. Cuts include a reduction in services at 300 health centres and in food distributions across the country.

More than five years of conflict, the destruction of homes and basic infrastructure, in addition to increased prices of food and a lack of job opportunities, have all contributed to leave a population deprived of the essentials, including food, clean water and healthcare.

Muhsin Siddiquey, Country Director of Oxfam Yemen said: “While the economic fallout unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every corner of the globe, in Yemen millions are on the brink of starvation.

"Yemenis had already suffered the hardships of more than five years of conflict before the pandemic wreaked further havoc, leaving them acutely vulnerable to disease and hunger. The international community urgently needs to step up funding for Yemen as well as honouring the pledges already made so that people can get the lifesaving aid they need.”

In real terms, the impact of the cut in aid is likely to be even greater than it appears because a depreciation in the Yemeni Rial has pushed up prices beyond the reach of millions. In Yemen, 21 cents would buy 200 grams of kidney beans or three eggs, according to the latest available market data, from July.

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said: “The UN’s appeal for funds to supply people with clean water, food, shelter and medicine in 2020 is just 40 percent funded. According to the UN’s Financial Tracking Service, almost all donors have given substantially less money this year, including four of the biggest donors last year– the US, UK, Saudi Arabia and the UAE - even though the number of people in need in Yemen has risen from 22.2 million to 24.3 million.

“Considering the ongoing situation in Yemen, described by the UN as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, it is good to see Irish government consistently respond to the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, with over 4.6 million committed this year – making Ireland one of only 29 countries to respond to the 2020 appeal.

“In response to this dire shortage in funding, which will result in even further suffering, Oxfam Ireland’s winter appeal will focus on Yemen. Funds raised through our winter appeal will support the distribution of cash transfers, vouchers, and cash-for-work projects, hygiene packs and the rehabilitation of infrastructure to ensure access to clean, safe water - supporting and protecting the people of Yemen and other communities most in need across the world.”

ENDS

Contact

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | 087 912 3165

Notes to editors

Yemen 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan - donor list

Yemen 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan - donor list

Donations to fund the humanitarian response in Yemen are registered by the UN’s Financial Tracking Service. Daily amounts were calculated using the total amount donated to Yemen in 2019 and 2020 (both inside and outside the Humanitarian Response Plan) and the UN’s total number of people in need. Only recorded commitments have been included in this analysis; pledges have not been accounted for, and nor has funding that has not been recorded by the Financial Tracking Service. The figure for 2020 was calculated up to and including 21st September 2020.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation reported market data for Yemen in July.

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18 Irish NGOs sign open letter requesting urgent relocation of young refugees displaced by Moria fire

  • Pact on Asylum and Migration likely replicate abhorrent situation in Greek EU 'hotspots'

  • Avoid further, unnecessary suffering of unaccompanied children say Irish NGOs


23 September 2020

Today, as the EU publish a new Pact on Asylum and Migration, 18 NGOs from across Ireland wrote to Taoiseach Martin and Ministers Coveney, McEntee, O’Gorman and Byrne, requesting the urgent relocation of unaccompanied children and young people from Greece to Ireland following the tragic fire in Moria refugee camp - which left thousands destitute. 

While the signatories welcome the decision taken by the Irish Government in March of this year to join a ‘Coalition of the Willing’ - who committed to take a portion of the unaccompanied young people being held in Greece - they urge the Irish government to accelerate the relocation of the minors to avoid further, and unnecessary, suffering. 

To date, Ireland has taken eight of the 36 children they pledged to relocate as a Coalition member, with the Taoiseach confirming last week that the government was working to relocate an additional four unaccompanied minors following the fires in Moria. 

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said: “Ireland recently campaigned on a platform of promoting human rights and being a voice for the world’s most vulnerable to secure its place on the United Nations Security Council. At a time when EU member states are being asked to show solidarity with fellow member states and young refugees, Ireland has an opportunity to lead by example in the aftermath of this preventable tragedy.

“The young refugees currently being held in Greece have already experienced the trauma of separation from, or loss of their family as well as displacement. The Irish government should act as a matter of urgency to ensure their safety now, and into the future.”

Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council said: "We strongly believe Ireland can do more to support young people in this desperate situation. We are calling on the Taoiseach to release extra funds as soon as possible to support Tusla and other supporting agencies so that more than four children can be assisted."

The European Commission will today outline a new Pact on Asylum and Migration. The new proposals  will likely replicate the abhorrent situation the EU has been witnessing for years in the Greek EU ‘hotspots’, where entire families have been put in actual or de-facto detention, and people seeking asylum have limited to no access to healthcare and other basic services. Women and unaccompanied minors are disproportionately affected: only a minority can access protected areas of EU-sponsored camps - leaving them to fend for themselves in flimsy tents for indefinite periods of time.

The 18 signatories are asking that more is done to ensure Ireland’s response extends beyond the four young people they are currently working to relocate. The additional 24 children Ireland has already promised to protect and care for are in an even worse state of limbo - displaced once again, as Member States debate and juggle where responsibility for their safety and wellbeing lies. 

END 

Contact 

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | 087 912 3165

Notes to the Editor 

The signatories are: Oxfam Ireland, Irish Refugee Council, Nasc - Migrant & Refugee Rights, Doras, ActionAid Ireland, JRS Ireland, Migrant Rights Centre Ireland, Immigrant Council of Ireland, Comhlámh, Trócaire, Community Work Ireland, Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI), National Youth Council of Ireland, National Women’s Council of Ireland, Children’s Rights Alliance, European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland, Amnesty Ireland, Irish Council for Civil Liberties 

In March 2020 Irish Government joined a ‘Coalition of the Willing’, committing along with 12 other EU member states to take a portion of the 1,600 unaccompanied minors being held on the Greek islands.


Open Letter

RE:  Urgent relocation of unaccompanied minors from the Greek islands to Ireland  

Dear Taoiseach, Minister Coveney, Minister McEntee, Minister O’Gorman and Minister Byrne,  

We are writing to you today to request the urgent relocation of unaccompanied children and young people from the Greek islands to Ireland. For 400 of those children living on Lesvos, their situation was made much worse on Wednesday the 10th of September, when a fire burnt Moria refugee camp to the ground - leaving them destitute.  

Before the fire, Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos hosted nearly 13,000 people in inhumane and unhygienic conditions. The majority of the unaccompanied children living in Moria were living amidst adults in overcrowded sections of camp or sleeping rough in the camp’s overspill area.   

These children have now fled twice – once from persecution and violence in their home countries and now from the burning camp. They are alone in the world and need a safe place now more than ever.  

We welcome the decision taken by the Irish Government in March 2020 to join the ‘Coalition of the Willing’, committing along with 12 other EU member states to take a portion of the 1,600 unaccompanied minors being held on the Greek islands.   

However, to date, Ireland has only taken eight of the 36 children they pledged to relocate as part of this initiative. Last week in the Dáil, on the 15th September, the Taoiseach confirmed that following the fires in Moria, Ireland was working to relocate four unaccompanied minors – when EU member states are being asked to show solidarity and welcome a portion of the 400 children from Moria.   

Ireland’s commitment to take in just four children is significantly below what we would expect from a country like Ireland with a long history of offering refuge for the most vulnerable and its own history of emigration. Given that Ireland successfully campaigned on a platform of promoting human rights and being a voice for the world’s most vulnerable to secure a non-permanent United Nations Security Council seat for the 2021-2022 term, this tragedy provides Ireland with an opportunity to lead by example.  

We are writing today to ask you to do more and ensure Ireland’s contribution extends beyond four unaccompanied children and young people. This includes providing Tusla with the budget needed to do so. Accepting only four still leaves the additional 24 children Ireland has already promised to protect and care for in limbo – and hundreds more besides.   

In the wake of this tragedy, we would strongly urge you to work together to accelerate the relocation of the remaining 24 unaccompanied minors to Ireland and commit to welcoming more. The fire in Moria was a completely preventable tragedy and must be met with a swift response to avoid further suffering.   

Thank you for taking the time to consider this request – we are more than happy to meet with you to discuss the above in more detail if you wish.  

Yours sincerely,   

Oxfam Ireland  

Irish Refugee Council 

Nasc, Migrant & Refugee Rights 

Doras 

ActionAid Ireland  

JRS Ireland 

Migrant Rights Centre Ireland  

Immigrant Council of Ireland  

Comhlámh 

Trócaire 

Community Work Ireland 

Independent Living Movement Ireland (ILMI) 

National Youth Council of Ireland 

National Women’s Council of Ireland 

Children’s Rights Alliance 

European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN) Ireland 

Amnesty International Ireland 

Irish Council for Civil Liberties 

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Governments must confront extreme carbon inequality

  • Richest one percent’s carbon emissions more than double those of the poorest half of humanity

  • Top 10 percent in Ireland emit almost as much emissions as the bottom 50 percent

The richest one percent of the world’s population are responsible for more than double the carbon pollution of the poorest half of humanity during a critical 25-year period of unprecedented emissions growth.

In Ireland, the top 10 percent of the Irish population emit nearly as much consumption emissions as the bottom 50 percent, despite there being five times more people in the bottom 50 percent - 2.3million people compared to 475,000.

Oxfam’s new report, Confronting Carbon Inequality, is based on research conducted with the Stockholm Environment Institute and is being released as world leaders prepare to meet at the United Nations General Assembly to discuss global challenges including the climate crisis.

Oxfam is calling on governments, including Ireland’s, to take into account the unequal distribution of consumption emissions among income groups, stating that it mirrors global inequality trends, whereby higher income groups expend significantly more carbon emissions than lower income groups. To achieve climate justice those most responsible for causing climate change, both around the world and in Ireland, have the most responsibility for addressing the twin crises of climate and inequality.

The report assesses the global consumption emissions of different income groups between 1990 and 2015 – 25 years when humanity doubled the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Some findings included:   

  • The richest 10 percent accounted for over half (52 percent) of the emissions added to the atmosphere between 1990 and 2015. The richest one percent were responsible for 15 percent of emissions during this time – more than all the citizens of the EU and more than twice that of the 3.1 billion poorest half of humanity (seven percent).
  • During this time, the richest 10 percent blew one third of our remaining global 1.5C carbon budget, compared to just four percent for the poorest half of the population.
  • Annual emissions grew by 60 percent between 1990 and 2015. The richest five percent were responsible for over a third (37 percent) of this growth. The total increase in emissions of the richest one percent was three times more than that of the poorest 50 percent.

In Ireland, the findings based on 2015 data found:

  • The top 10 percent of the Irish population by income levels, emit over a quarter (26 percent) of consumption emissions, the middle 40 percent emits less than half (45 percent) of emissions, while the bottom 50 percent emits only 29 percent of emissions. Shares among these income groups have not changed markedly over the period 1990-2015.
  • The top 10 percent contributed about a third of the cumulative carbon emissions between 1990 and 2015 - almost as much as the bottom 50 percent (28 percent compared to 29 percent).
  • The top one percent has almost 13 times the average per capita carbon footprint of the bottom half of Irish citizens (66 tCO2 compared to 5 tCO2).  To put this in perspective we need to reach an average per capita carbon footprint of just 2.1 tCO2 by 2030 to achieve our Paris Agreement commitments and keep global heating on track to reach just 1.5C.

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland, said: “Our report highlights the need for governments, including our own, to confront extreme carbon inequality. Until we do that, a wealthy minority will continue to enjoy the luxuries of over-consumption, fuelling the climate crisis at the expense of poor communities and our young people.

“During 2020, and with the world already heating up by around 1C, climate change has already fuelled deadly cyclones in India and Bangladesh, huge locust swarms that have devastated crops across Africa and unprecedented heatwaves and wildfires across Australia and the US.  No one is immune but it is the poorest and most marginalised people who are hardest hit.

“Simply rebooting our outdated, unfair, and polluting pre-Covid economies is no longer a viable option. Governments must seize this opportunity to reshape our economies and build a better tomorrow for us all.”

Carbon emissions are likely to rapidly rebound as governments ease Covid-related lockdowns. If emissions do not keep falling year on year and carbon inequality is left unchecked the remaining carbon budget for 1.5C will be entirely depleted by 2030. However, carbon inequality is so stark the richest 10 percent would blow the carbon budget by 2033 even if all other emissions were cut to zero.

As the Irish Government plans to ramp up climate action, Oxfam is calling on them to tackle both extreme inequality and the climate crisis by targeting the excessive emissions of the richest and investing in poor and vulnerable communities.

Oxfam Ireland is calling on the Irish Government to consider implementing a number of recommendations in the forthcoming budget, including:

  • Ensuring that all climate actions are equality proofed and mechanisms are in place to offset the significant negative impact of climate action on low-income groups 
  • Introduce focused policy measures targeting excessive and luxury emissions
  • End tax breaks for aircraft fuel and explore mechanisms to discourage frequent fliers 
  • Government bailouts and subsidies should end for sectors associated with luxury carbon consumption, and investment expanded in low carbon sectors like health and social care
  • New decent job guarantees should be designed for those sectors of the economy that will be most impacted by the transition to a post-carbon future

Download Oxfam’s Confronting Carbon Inequality report, including research and data as well as Oxfam Ireland’s Confronting Carbon Inequality in Ireland here.

ENDS

CONTACT: For interviews or more information, please contact:

Caroline Reid | caroline.reid@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 912 3165

Notes to editor:

  • Full Irish and international briefings can be downloaded at this link: https://oxfam.box.com/s/73ftytr1l9ui9vbuhks2pgkgzhgbtl4h
  • The poorest 50 percent of humanity comprised approximately 3.1 billion people on average between 1990 and 2015, the richest 10 percent comprised approx. 630 million people, the richest 5 percent approx. 315 million people, and the richest one percent approximately 63 million people.
  • In 2015, around half the emissions of the richest 10 percent - people with net income over $38,000 - are linked to citizens in the US and the EU and around a fifth with citizens of China and India. Over a third of the emissions of the richest one percent – people with net income over $109,000 - are linked to citizens in the US, with the next biggest contributions from citizens of the Middle East and China. Net incomes are based on income thresholds for 2015 and represented in $ 2011 PPP (purchasing power parity).
  • The carbon budget is the amount of carbon dioxide that can be added to the atmosphere without causing global temperatures to rise above 1.5C – the goal set by governments in the Paris Agreement to avoid the very worst impacts of uncontrolled climate change.
  • The research is based on estimations of consumption emissions from fossil fuels i.e. emissions consumed within a country including emissions embodied in imports and excluding emissions embodied in exports.  National consumption emissions were divided between individual households based on the latest income distribution datasets and a functional relationship between emissions and income. This assumes, on the basis of numerous studies, that emissions rise in proportion to income above a minimum emissions floor and until a maximum emissions ceiling. National household consumption emissions estimates - for 117 countries from 1990 to 2015 - are then sorted into a global distribution according to income. More details on the methodology is available in the research report.
  • The Stockholm Environment Institute is an international non-profit research and policy organisation that tackles environment and development challenges.
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