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Minister O’Sullivan affirms Government's commitment to fight global poverty

Poverty, Hunger, News/feature, Ireland, 2011
Minister of State for Trade and Development, Jan O’Sullivan, T.D., today said she was determined that the fight against poverty and hunger in the developing would be at the heart of Ireland’s foreign policy.

Speaking at a major conference in Dublin on the future of development aid, Minister O’Sullivan said:

“Our new Government is strongly committed to Ireland’s development programme.  We were elected to lead the regeneration of Ireland’s economy and society, but not at the expense of those less fortunate than ourselves. We are determined that the fight against poverty, hunger and inequality in the world should be at the centre of Ireland’s foreign policy, as we work to rebuild our country’s international reputation.”

Minister O’Sullivan, who opened the ‘Leading Edge 2020’ conference organised by Trócaire, said the Government was committed to the 0.7% GNP target.

Ireland will continue to work relentlessly towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, she said, by focusing our aid on the poorest people and communities, intensifying efforts to reduce poverty and hunger, tackling climate change and promoting education, especially for girls.

Minister O’Sullivan also committed to exploring the links between trade and development: “One of the challenges for the EU is to strengthen the links between trade and development.   As Minister of State for Trade and Development, I will be working for new business opportunities for Ireland in markets across the globe.  However, I also hope to explore the linkages between trade and development,” she said.

“I also hope to explore further the crucial issue of women in economic development.  The majority of smallholder farmers in poor countries in Africa are women.  When women can acquire assets, earn incomes, accumulate savings and have control over resources, they prioritise helping themselves and their families. Even small resources can make a significant difference.”

Minister O’Sullivan commended Trócaire on their “Leading Edge 2020” Report. She underscored the importance of Government and NGOs working in partnership to increase aid effectiveness:  “We must work to improve the transparency, efficiency and accountability of the aid we provide on behalf of the Irish taxpayer – on behalf of the poor communities with whom we work.”

After addressing the conference, Minister O’Sullivan met EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, to discuss the development priorities of both Ireland and the E.U.

Notes to the editor

·          Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas development programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

·         Minister O’Sullivan was speaking today at the Trócaire ‘Leading Edge 2020’ conference at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin 8.

·         For further information on Irish Aid or to see Minister O’Sullivan’s full speech, visit www.irishaid.ie

·         To request an interview with Minister O’Sullivan, contact Fionnuala Quinlan, Press Officer, Irish Aid, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on 01-4082653 or 087-9099975.

22 March, 2011