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St Patrick’s Day celebrated in Lilongwe

The Irish Embassy on 15 March hosted a reception at the Ambassador’s residence for the Irish community and invited guests from Government, civil society and the private sector. Honourable Samuel Batson Tembenu S.C, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, was the Guest of Honour. Guests were able to experience Ireland’s rich culture through food, drink, and music played by an Irish band.

Addressing the event, H.E. Gerry Cunningham, Ambassador of Ireland to Malawi, told guests that St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated by more people in more countries than any other national day, including by the Irish diaspora in Malawi. He celebrated the deep and growing ties between Ireland and Malawi, including the contributions made by the Malawian diaspora in Ireland.

Noting the shared commitment to multilateralism of Ireland and Malawi and the important contributions that both countries make to UN Peacekeeping Operations, the Ambassador said:

“Like Malawi, Ireland is also committed to, and proud of our contribution to the UN. In particular we have a unique record of 60 years unbroken peacekeeping service with the UN… Ireland co-chaired the successful outcome to the negotiations on the Sustainable Development Goals. This week Ireland in New York is again chairing the UN Commission on the Status of Women.”

Ambassador Cunningham went on to say:

“Last year Ireland announced its candidature seeking election to one of the five non-permanent seats at UN Security Council from 2021. Our history and our previous record at the Security Council demonstrates our approach built on empathy, partnership and independence.” Ambassador Cunningham assured guests that, if elected, Ireland will not lose any opportunity to advance the cause of small states or Least Developed Countries.”

The Ambassador also highlighted the recent launch of Ireland’s new policy on International Development, A Better World, which builds on Ireland’s reputation for providing high quality aid, untied, in the form of grants rather than loans; and focused on the poorest countries particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ambassador Cunningham highlighted some key successes of the current Irish Aid programme in Malawi, including the roll out of electronic cash transfers to vulnerable households in Balaka and Ntcheu, the success of the piloting of the National Registration and Identity Card, and the development of 56 varieties of climate resistant and nutritious varieties of legumes, cereals, roots and tubers in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and CGIAR Centres.

Finally, the Ambassador announced that the Government of Ireland has jointly approved a €700,000 investment in Valid Nutrition to construct a new factory in Malawi, which will build on Malawi’s reputation as a high quality producer of Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods and providing additional employment for Malawians.



Embassy of Ireland

 Notes for Editors:

  • St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on 17th March in Ireland and around the world by Irish people and those with an affinity to Ireland. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland.
  • Although the population of the island of Ireland is 6.7 million, over 70 million people around the world claim Irish heritage.
  • The Embassy of Ireland in Lilongwe was officially opened in 2008. The current Ambassador, H.E. Gerry Cunningham, was appointed in 2017.
  • The overall goal of Ireland’s Country Strategy Paper (2016-2020) for Malawi is ‘to increase the resilience of poor households to economic, social and environmental shocks in line with Malawi’s growth and development strategy’. In keeping with Ireland’s global priorities the country strategy is also aligned with the Government of Malawi’s Growth and Development Strategy.
  • While the primary focus of the Embassy of Ireland's work is on the development programme, the Embassy is also active in other areas including trade promotion; provision of consular services; and EU related issues.

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