Taoiseach opens Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre
An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern TD, today officially opened the Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre on O’Connell Street, Dublin. The state-of-the-art Centre will provide information on overseas development challenges, Ireland’s efforts to fight poverty and on opportunities for the individual to get involved in development aid, at home and abroad. The Taoiseach was joined at the opening by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern TD, and Michael Kitt TD, Minister of State for Overseas Development. Speaking ahead of the opening, the Taoiseach said:
“During my visit to Tanzania and South Africa last week, I saw for myself the positive impact that Ireland – the Government, and NGOs and missionaries and our volunteers – is having in crucial areas such as healthcare, housing, education and the fight against HIV and AIDS. As our aid programme grows in the coming years, the Centre will engage the public in this effort and on ways in which the individual can become involved.”
The Minister for Foreign Affairs added:
“The opening of this Centre is the fulfilment of a commitment made in the Programme for Government and also in the White Paper on Irish Aid published in September 2006, to raise awareness of development issues and make more and better information on development-related volunteering available.”
The Minister of State, Michael Kitt TD, said:
“The Centre is a wonderful learning resource for teachers, school pupils, overseas development organisations, young people and the wider public. It features interactive displays, temporary exhibitions and a workshop area where schools and youth programmes will take place. I am delighted to say that already 50 school groups from across Ireland are to visit in the first half of 2008”.
Note to editors:
Irish Aid is Ireland’s official programme of assistance to the poorest countries in the world. The Irish Aid Volunteering & Information Centre is a state of the art, multi-media exhibition space, designed to raise awareness of development issues and the role of Irish Aid in tackling global poverty.
Visitors will be encouraged to think of ways in which they can make a personal contribution to development whether through volunteering, purchasing Fairtrade products or taking steps towards sustainable living. A specially designed educational programme is available in the Centre’s workshop for second-level school groups.
Detailed practical information on development-related volunteering, both in Ireland and abroad, will be available at interactive computer kiosks in the Centre. Irish Aid staff will be on hand to provide initial information, advice and briefing sessions for potential volunteers, in conjunction with Comhlámh and other organisations.
A lively programme of events for the public has been developed with partner organisations to raise awareness of international development themes. Events are planned around international days such as World AIDS day, Africa Day and International Human Rights Day. More information on these and future events can found on the Irish Aid Web site, www.irishaid.gov.ie/centre.
The renovation of the Centre was managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) and the Architect is Tom de Paor.
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22nd January 2008