Ireland expected to contribute €65m to global fund to tackle deadly diseases

Biden to press Truss to reach deal with EU on Northern Ireland protocol

The Government is expected to announce it will contribute €65 million as part of a new international initiative to tackle diseases such as Aids, TB and malaria around the world.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney is expected pledge the money at a conference hosted by US president Joe Biden at the United Nations on Wednesday.

Apart from the €65 million payment, the Government is separately expected to announce a sizeable contribution to boost childhood nutrition.

US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday the new global fund would facilitate programmes aimed at preventing, detecting, and treating the deadliest diseases and “ensure countries have the resources they need to build strong, resilient health systems within their communities for today and for the future”.


He said the United States expected the conference hosted by Mr Biden would “produce a historic outcome in terms of the commitments made — financial commitments made by our partners and by the United States”.

Separately it is understood Ireland will in principle support demands by Ukraine for the payment of compensation by Russia on foot of its invasion of the country.

Ireland is also backing cases being taken by Ukraine against Russia o the International Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights.

The war in Ukraine as well as growing food insecurity caused by climate change and conflict and the impact of diseases such as Aids, TB and malaria are expected to dominated proceedings at the United Nations this week in New York.

Mr Biden will also urge new British prime minister Liz Truss to reach a deal with the EU over the Northern Ireland protocol when the meet for the first time at the United Nations on Wednesday.

Mr Sullivan said on Tuesday the president would “speak in some detail with her about that” at their meeting.

“The president will communicate his strong view that the Good Friday agreement, which is the touchstone of peace and stability in Northern Ireland, must be protected and we must collectively take steps — the US, the UK, the parties in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland — to ensure that it is protected.”

“And in that regard, he will encourage the UK and the European Union to work out an effective outcome that ensures there is no threat to the fundamental principles of the Good Friday agreement.”

Ms Truss earlier this week downplayed expectations about an imminent free trade agreement with the United States. Some Brexit supporters were very anxious that after leaving the EU, the UK should negotiate an early trade accord with Washington.

Mr Sullivan said the prime minister’s comments were not surprising to him because free trade agreements took a long time to negotiate.

“I mean ... if you look back at the record of them, that would just be a fair statement of reality about the sheer level of detail into which one must go to complete a comprehensive free trade agreement.

“And that’s doubly true with respect to a potential US-UK trade agreement because, as President Biden has said many times, he’s looking to move beyond the old model of an FTA (free trade agreement) to a model that is actually more geared to today’s economic realities and to the lessons of the last 30 years. So that’s going to require its own work as well.

The UN general assembly will be addressed by a number of world leaders including Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Mr Martin is expected to push back against Russian claims that sanctions by western countries is causing higher energy and food prices in Africa and other countries when he holds bilateral talks with other leaders during the week.

Mr Coveney is expected to speak at a meeting of the UN security council on Thursday in relation to the invasion of Ukraine.

The UN meetings this week are likely to centre on accountability for Russian actions in Ukraine.

It is understood Ireland backs the concept of the payment of reparations by Russia to Ukraine as a result of its invasion, potentially using the proceeds from seized assets. However, the details on such a scheme have not yet been finalised.

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent