CLASH OVER STATE AIDS CASH
Irish Times 13/07/2005
By Olivia Kelly
Taxpayer's money should not be used to fund overseas
HIV/ Aids programmes, which do not advocate the
use of condoms, Senator David Norris has said.
Mr. Norris was speaking at an Oireachtas Foreign
Affairs committee yesterday, which met delegates
from the Catholic overseas mission body, the Irish
Missionary Resource Service (MRS). It was "wrong
and immoral" he said for Irish taxpayer's money
to be used in projects combating HIV/Aids that
did not give people the "full facts" on the prevention
of the disease, including the role of condoms.
It was "highly appropriate and very efficient"
for the Government to direct overseas aid through
religious missions because they provided a very
good return for the money invested, Mr Norris
said. However he said it was essential that separation
of State and Church beliefs was observed when
public money was being used.
"Funding has to be specifically directed to education,
health and rural development programmes. It cannot
be seen to be promoting evangelism." The IMRS
is seeking an increase in Government funding for
85 overseas missionary organisations.
The body is currently allocated €12 million of
the Government's €545 million annual overseas
aid budget and is seeking an increase to 20 million