O'Donnell discusses debt relief with Archbishop Rodriquez of Honduras
Speaking this morning after a meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs with Archbishop Oscar Rodriquez, Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras and special Papal Envoy on Third World Debt, Minister of State Liz O'Donnell said:
"Debt relief, and in some cases cancellation, is now a moral crusade which requires an alliance of governments, civil society and churches to progress. We had an extremely worthwhile exchange of views on the continuing urgent needs of Honduras in the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch. I briefed the Archbishop on Ireland's provisions of over £750,000 to date on emergency needs in the Honduras since Hurricane Mitch.
"The sending of an Irish Aid technical team this week to assess needs in Honduras and Nicaragua shows the determination of the Irish Government to continue to respond vigorously and to the task of rebuilding the shattered economies of these countries.
"On Debt, we discussed the burden of debt crippling Central America and in Africa.
"I expressed the strong support of the Irish Government for an urgent, comprehensive and flexible response by the International Community to the debt crisis. In particular, I said that Ireland - which will shortly be contributing substantially to the Highly Indebted Poor countries initiative (HIPC) of the World Bank and the IMF - wants to see the HIPC framework applied more flexibly, more urgently and more comprehensively to address crippling debt needs that are causing enormous economic and social damage to a large number of developing countries. Servicing the debt prevents poor countries rising out of poverty, notwithstanding considerable aid flows.
"I assured Archbishop Rodriquez of the commitment of the Irish Government to advancing support for substantial debt relief for developing countries in every international forum and of my own commitment to further making support for debt alleviation an integral part of Irish Development Cooperation Policy.
"One positive outcome of the tragedy of Hurricane Mitch is that at long last global solidarity is being shown on this issue of debt."Top