The International Fund for Ireland is an organization created by the British and Irish government that aims to improve the economic and social conditions in Northern Ireland. Established in 1986, the organization has been receiving funding from various donors. The United States government has been one of the organization’s major contributors. The US government allocates a certain portion of its federal budget to support programs and activities organized or planned by the International Fund for Ireland.
It has consistently provided funding that has been used for various projects of the group. For the fiscal year 2008, both House of Representatives and the Senate of the US Congress both agreed to include contributions to the International Fund for Ireland in the General Appropriations Act. Such fund is placed under the State and Foreign Operations Section of the annual federal budget that both houses of the US Congress ratified. In H. R 2764, Page H6833, the section on the US contributions to the International Fund for Ireland is fully stated and described as follows:
“For necessary expenses to carry out the provisions of chapter 4 of part II of the Foreign Assistance A ct of 1961, $15,000,000, which shall be available for the United States contribution to the International Fund for Ireland and shall be made available in accordance with the provisions of the Anglo-Irish Agreement Support Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-415): Provided, That such amount shall be expended at the minimum rate necessary to make timely payment for projects and activities: Provided further, That funds made available under this heading shall remain available until September 30, 2009. ”
No objections were raised with regards to the amount or to the provisions of such bill. Furthermore, no amendments were made and the said provisions were passed and approved without complications. Surprisingly, no member of Congress questioned the inclusion of such provision in the Appropriations Act specifically for State and Foreign Operations. Although there is indeed a precedence for the said spending project, current events and the current situation in Ireland seem to no longer merit the allocation of such funding. The primary argument that supports the said bill is the Anglo-Irish Agreement Support Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-415).
It is act law that provides justification to the continued contribution of the US government to the IFE. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D) of the 14th district of New York was one of those who voted in favor of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations for FY 2008 (H. R 2764) of which the section on contributions to the International Fund for Ireland is included. Congresswoman Maloney is a member of the Ad Hoc Congressional Committee for Irish Affairs. As such, her support for the said bill and her lack of objection to the provisions on the US government’s contributions to the IFE is expected.
If I were a member of the US congress, I would raise an objection to the passage of the said act. My objection to the funding contributions to the IFE would simply be based on the fact that the situation in Ireland has changed. The Irish need for support which was evident at the time of Public Law 99-415 is no longer apparent and relevant today. Although the International Fund of Ireland continues to promote a betterment of life for Northern Ireland, there is no dire or urgent projects that need to be implemented.
For one, the Irish economy has vastly improved. Living conditions in the said country serve as clear indicators of how much has changed in terms of the plight of the Irish people. However, instead of proposing to delete the said provision, I would propose an amendment. I would propose that the allocated portion of the fiscal budget for the contributions to the International Fund for Ireland must and should be lowered. As earlier mentioned, the projects of the said organization no longer merit the same amount of funding that the US government used to give.
I agree that contributions to the said organization must continue especially for the purpose of maintaining a good relationship with the people of Ireland. Also, I agree that contributions to the said organization must continue simply because it was a promise that the country made to the people of Ireland and such promise should not be abandoned. However, the amount allocated can no longer be justified by the prevailing conditions in Ireland. A deduction from the said amount would be greatly beneficial to the public for the said amount can be used in other areas that need more attention and funding such as education and healthcare.
Simply put, the funding allocated for the International Fund for Ireland is no longer relevant to today’s time and age. An amendment to the amount to be contributed to the said organization is necessary.
Works Cited: U. S Cong. House of Representatives. 110th Congress, 1st Session. “H. R 2764, Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations for FY 2008. ” Bills. Thomas, Library of Congress, 19 Dec. 2007. 18 April 2008 < http://thomas. loc. gov/cgi-bin/query/F? c110:9:. /temp/~c110ihIt3P:e1383481:>.