The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D., condemns the destruction
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D, has condemned the destruction by militants yesterday of a girls school in Sangota, Swat, Pakistan run by the Irish Presentation Sisters. In his comments on the loss of the school, Minister Martin said:
‘I was deeply saddened to learn of the destruction by Taliban-like militants of a girls’ secondary school run by the Irish Presentation Sisters in Sangota, Swat, Pakistan. This school, opened in 1965, has been educating about a thousand low-income secondary students – Muslim as well as Christian.
The destruction of the school represents an enormous set-back for the girls and families of this area and for the courageous Sisters of the Presentation Order, who run this and several other schools in Pakistan.
Such incidents remind us of the often very difficult, and dangerous, conditions in which the Presentation Sisters – and many Irish missionaries around the world – serve the people of the countries in which they operate. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to their tremendous dedication and contribution.
I remain deeply concerned about the general security situation in Pakistan and the serious casualties and damage that militants and terrorists are inflicting on the people of Pakistan, including efforts to prevent the education of children, especially girls. It is vital that the Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan come together to agree a joint security strategy to combat terrorist and militant operations across and near their common border area. In pursuing such a strategy it is of course also essential that every care is taken to protect innocent civilians.’
08 October 2008