UPDATE: Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern told reporters at the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting in Cavan yesterday that the €1 million allocated by Ireland will be directed via the Red Cross, civil society and community-based organisations.
FIGURES SHOW that Eddie Hobbs reached into a million Irish homes as he beat his drum concerning the way the government spends tax money. Since his value-for-money sermons covered those things you could touch--groceries, cars, wage slips--the issue of foreign affairs remained off shore. So, would Eddie Hobbs see good value for money in the million euro Ireland is tossing into the water of Louisiana?
Better still, would Eddie Hobbs object if he knew the Irish donation was headed to the federal government of the United States and not to an agency on the ground like the American Red Cross?
I don't know where the Irish donation will land but armed with my Hobbesian bifocals I would like to think there's an apolitical dimension to Irish charity. It would be distasteful to think the million euro is being used to line the next bowl of shamrocks presented to the President of the United States. At the very best, that demeans charity and reduces Ireland's status to a position where she tries to buy her place at the table. I think there would be more support if Ireland sponsored Macnas performers to march in the 2006 Mardi Gras parade through the French Quarter.
The popularly acclaimed disaster agencies have shown their merit by the speed of their response while the initial federal government reaction has been to affix blame first and position the cameras second. Why buy into that when Irish charity should be used to achieve the greatest multiplier effect?
DISCLAIMER: I've donated to the American Red Cross because I know their ethos first-hand.
Martin Wall -- "US had requested assistance, says Ahern" behind the costwall of The Irish Times, September 6, 2005. Image by Hector Mata/AFP.
Darren Barefoot -- "Why I'm not donating to the relief effort"
Twenty Major -- "Why should Ireland give €1m to New Orleans?"
Ted Bridis -- "FEMA Chief Sent Help Only When Storm Ended"