The director-general of the World Health Organisation has thanked the people of Ireland after the Government quadrupled its funding to the organisation.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney this morning announced that the State would contribute €9.5m to the WHO this year to with the global response to COVID-19.
He reiterated Ireland's support for the UN health agency, saying “so many countries rely on UN expertise and capacity to save lives.”
#Ireland strongly supports @WHO in efforts to coordinate a global response to combat #COVID19. So many countries rely on @UN expertise and capacity to save lives. Ireland is quadrupling our normal annual financial contribution to @WHO for 2020 to €9.5 million.
— Simon Coveney (@simoncoveney) April 16, 2020
Responding this afternoon, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus offered his “huge thanks.”
“Huge thanks to Tánaiste Simon Coveney and the people of Ireland for your continuous support to the WHO and for your increased contribution for 2020 to €9.5m,” he said.
“Together against COVID-19. Together for a healthier, safer world.”
Huge thanks to Tánaiste @simoncoveney and the people of #Ireland for your continuous support to @WHO, and for your increased contribution for 2020 to €9.5 million. Together, against #COVID19! Together, for a healthier, safer world!https://t.co/HWQNTME3ha
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) April 16, 2020
On Tuesday, the US suspended its funding to the WHO - pending a review - because of its handling of the outbreak.
President Trump accused the organisation of taking China’s early assurances about the virus at "face value".
He claimed the organisation failed in its basic duty to “adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion".
US funding typically accounts for around 15% of the WHO's annual finances.
The announcement that US funding was being suspended was met with widespread international criticism, with Minister Coveney describing the Trump administration's move as an "indefensible decision".
UN Secretary General António Guterres, meanwhile, said it was 'not the time' for pulling support for WHO or other humanitarian organisations.
He suggested it was instead a time for "unity and for the international community to work together in solidarity to stop this virus and its shattering consequences".
The WHO has faced some criticism for its handling of the pandemic - including from Taiwan, who have been excluded from membership of the WHO due to objections from Beijing.