I got several negative responses to my idea of letting Irish people decide themselves how best to spend Irish Aid funding. I think the main concern is that Irish people don't know enough about the complex issues involved and might make inappropriate, short-term, emotion-driven decisions. I tend to give the Irish people more credit, but there you go.
Still, it's nice to see a supermarket empowering its customers to decide how best to spend funding for corporate social responsibility initiatives. Waitrose will shortly roll out a programme whereby each of its stores are given £1,000 to donate each month to three local community groups, schools or charities. Every time they shop there, customers get a token that can be inserted in any of three Perspex tubes at the front of the store - one for each of the selected charitable groups. At the end of the month, the pile of tokens donated to each organisation is weighed and the beneficiaries receive a corresponding proportion of the cash.
Maybe an enterprising Irish retailer or bank will try the same - and then those opposed to letting the people decide might come around to the idea of donor empowerment.