Minister of State Conor Lenihan announces €20 million for Liberia & Sierra Leone
Conor Lenihan T.D., Minister of State responsible for Irish Aid and Human Rights, today announced funding of €20 million over the next two years to support the recovery and transition from conflict in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Minister Lenihan made the announcement during his visit to Sierra Leone and following the arrest of the former President of Liberia, Mr. Charles Taylor. The Minister will travel to Liberia later today from Sierra Leone, where he was attending an investment conference.
The funding involves 14 million euros, over two years, for Sierra Leone and an additional 6 million euros for Liberia.
In Liberia, he will meet with President Johnson Sirleaf and representatives of UN agencies and aid organisations.
Making the announcement, Minister Lenihan said:
“The arrest of the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor, underlines the importance of dealing effectively with the sometimes horrific past of both Sierra Leone and Liberia, in order to build a stable, peaceful and prosperous future.
It is essential to end any perception that those responsible for the most serious crimes will go unpunished, which is the reason that Ireland has provided support to the Special Court for Sierra Leone since its establishment.
In Liberia, Ireland has provided over €8 million since 2001 to help address humanitarian needs. Those needs are still enormous: for example, Liberia is still without running water and electricity. As part of today's commitment, I am immediately making available €4 million to assist returning refugees, provide basic healthcare and assist women affected by the war.
Since 2000, we have provided €14 million in aid to assist the recovery process in Sierra Leone. A further €2.5 million will be released in coming days to combat maternal mortality and to help counter violence against women. Our connections with the reconstruction efforts go beyond the aid programme.
Irish Troops have been in Liberia since 2003, helping to provide security throughout the country and yesterday they were instrumental in helping to bring Charles Taylor into custody. There is also an Irish judge in the Special Court for Sierra Leone.
These are diverse and strong links. They represent a commitment to helping these countries, a commitment of which Irish people should be very proud.
This is a time of great optimism for the region but also one of great challenges. Ireland is helping Sierra Leone and Liberia to meet those challenges.”
30th March 2006
Details of proposed funding in attached document