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Visit of Minister of State Kathleen Lynch T.D. to Israel

Last week the Embassy was honoured and delighted to host a visit by the Minister for State at the Department of Health, Kathleen Lynch T.D. The Minister is responsible for Primary Care, Social Care and Mental Health.

The main purpose of the Minister’s visit was to give the keynote speech at Beit Issie Shapiro’s 6th Annual Conference on Disabilities in Tel Aviv on Tuesday 7 July and Wednesday 8 July. The Minister’s contribution to the conference was very well received. Her commitment and the policy experience she conveyed made a significant impact on the conference delegates. Participants recognised the importance of information sharing at a policy level on assisted living and assisted decision making for those with disabilities.

The Minister’s visit builds upon the work of Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at the NUIG School of Law, who has worked to foster partnerships with Israel in this area and share lessons from Ireland.

Minister Lynch had a bilateral meeting during the conference with Israeli Minister of Welfare and Social Services, Chaim Katz. She also met with the Director of Services for People with Disabilities for Tel Aviv Municipality and gave an interview to The Marker.

While in Israel, the Minister toured Beit Issie Shapiro in Ra’anana, a non-profit organisation which aims to provide services to improve quality of life for people with disabilities. She also visited Kfar Tikva, a community located in Israel’s Lower Galilee region and home to adults with developmental and emotional disabilities. The Minister also participated in Iftar, the breaking of the fast during Ramadan, in Ramallah with civil society representatives as well as officials from the Ministry of Health and the Ramallah municipality.

During her visit, Minister Lynch laid a wreath at Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. The Shoah began with the decision by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi to exterminate those with mental and physical disabilities.

A dinner for the Minister was hosted by Ambassador McKee at the Residence, with guests including the CEO of Akim Israel, the Director of the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, academics from Haifa University, the CEO of Bizchut and the executive director of Beit Issie Shapiro.