Minister of State Peter Power calls for greater public engagement with the Irish Aid programme
The Minister of State for Overseas Development, Peter Power T.D., has called for greater public engagement in our national overseas aid programme ; Irish Aid. In a keynote address at the PR Excellence Awards held in the Mansion House in Dublin, Minister of State Power said:
“Ireland is a world leader in international aid and development. It is something that every Irishman and woman should be proud of. It has enhanced our status throughout the world significantly. It is therefore of critical importance that our development aid programme continues to enjoy high levels of public support and confidence. We must sustain public support for what I believe is the key challenge facing this generation -addressing global inequality and exclusion.”
Even during a very difficult environment for exchequer finances, Ireland is still the sixth highest donor in the world.
Minister Power also said:
“Ireland has been known for many years for its solidarity with developing countries and its commitment to the poor. Missionaries from Ireland set up communities among the poorest of the poor and provided much needed education and health services. This is the tradition which I would like Ireland to rediscover and which we can rediscover through the prism of the Millennium Development Goals. It is the challenge of my generation.”
Minister of State Power expressed his disappointment with the outcome of the recent Lisbon Treaty referendum, in particular as the Treaty had clearly expressed provisions on overseas development and humanitarian aid.
He outlined initiatives being undertaken by Irish Aid to engage the public in overseas development. These include the recently opened Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre in Dublin in January. The Centre has attracted 14,000 visitors in the five months since it opened.
The Minister of State also called for participants at the awards to
consider how they might respond to the challenges of communicating
global development issues and addressing these issues.
Note for Editors
The government target this year for Overseas Development Assistance is €914 million, representing 0.54% of GNP. This will keep Ireland on track to reach spending of 0.7% of GNP on ODA by 2012 as part of the effort to reach the Millennium Development Goals. The focus of the Irish Aid programme is tackling global poverty and exclusion, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Areas such as HIV and AIDS, the environment, education, governance and gender are targeted as these have the greatest impact on poorest communities and people.
The PR Excellence Awards at which Minister of State Power spoke were hosted jointly by the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA), the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (Northern Ireland). The aim of these awards is to recognise the best public relations campaigns carried out on the island of Ireland over the previous twelve months.
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