Mary Kenny looks at the huge amount of aid being given by the Irish people – now moving swiftly past the 10 million mark – and notes that per head of population this puts the the Republic just behind the Norwegians in terms of generousity. But, she warns, whilst pumping money in can be effective in the early stages of recovery, trade is more likely to drive aid in the longer term.
Hamish McRae reiterates her argument in the same paper:
There is a commercial aspect to this. I’d hope that we can learn how to make ourselves more open to the products and services that these countries have developed and will now redevelop. The trade restrictions of the developed world are really pretty inexcusable in political, economic or moral terms. If the disaster creates an impetus for the practical detailed changes in Western trade policy needed to open our markets, then some good will have come of it.
The current Blue Peter-like obsession with figures and league table performances has helped create extraordinary interest in the plight of developing communities in Asia.
The question is, will people remain engaged when recovery rather than relief is the primary aim?