Coronavirus: Ireland to quadruple WHO contribution after Trump halts US funding

Irish deputy prime minister says country will donate €9.5m in 2020

Rory Sullivan
Friday 17 April 2020 12:12 BST
Ireland shines a light in tribute to Covid-19 victims and healthcare workers

Ireland has announced that it will quadruple its contribution to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a few days after Donald Trump pulled US funding from the health agency.

Simon Coveney, the Irish deputy prime minister, said on Thursday that his country would donate 9.5m (£8.3m) to the WHO this year to aid its Covid-19 response.

Commenting on the importance of the UN’s health agency, he said that “so many countries rely on UN expertise and capacity to save lives.”

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the WHO, thanked Ireland for its donation and continued support.

He wrote on Twitter: "Huge thanks to Tanaiste Simon Coveney and the people of Ireland for your continuous support to the WHO and for your increased contribution for 2020 to 9.5 million euros.”

Ireland’s decision came shortly after Mr Trump said he would halt his country’s contribution to the WHO - pending a review into its handling of the coronavirus crisis.

He accused the WHO of failing to “adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion"

The US president’s announcement was met with condemnation from health experts and politicians around the world.

Dr Patrice Harris, the president of the American Medical Association, described the move as “a dangerous step in the wrong direction that will not make defeating Covid-19 easier”.

Mr Coveney called it an “indefensible decision” in the midst of a pandemic.

One of his colleagues, the Irish health minister Simon Harris, said that any effort to undermine the WHO is “dangerous, illogical and harmful”.

The US donated more than $400m to the WHO in 2019, roughly 15 per cent of the health agency’s budget.

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