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Tánaiste announces funding to help vulnerable Palestinian refugees in Syria

Irish Aid, Press Releases, Middle East and North Africa, 2012

The Government is to provide €200,000 in emergency funding to help some of the half a million Palestinian refugees living in Syria whose lives have been increasingly affected by the devastating fighting in the country. 

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, said the funds would support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to provide health, education and social services to Palestinian refugees. 

Speaking after a meeting in Dublin today with the Commissioner General of UNRWA, Mr. Filippo Grandi, the Tánaiste said he was increasingly concerned at the impact of the crisis in Syria on innocent civilians.

“The humanitarian situation in Syria and across the wider region continues to deteriorate.  Some 2.5 million people have been affected, with 1.2 million displaced within Syria and almost 350,000 forced to cross the border to neighbouring countries.  The poor, the elderly and vulnerable groups such as the Palestinian refugee population in Syria are among those at greatest risk”. 

Announcing the funding, the Tánaiste said:

“Ireland has been a longstanding supporter of the work of UNRWA.  During my visit to Gaza earlier this year, I witnessed the impact of the agency’s tireless work to meet the basic needs of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.  I am confident that the support I am announcing today will help UNRWA to save lives and maintain the dignity of a population at increasing risk due to the brutal conflict in Syria.”

Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello added: “This funding underlines Ireland’s commitment to responding to the urgent humanitarian needs in Syria and in neighbouring countries.  It brings the total value of the Irish Government’s response to the crisis in Syria this year to almost €2.5 million.

“Since my visit to Jordan in August, I have been monitoring the plight of refugees very closely. The increasing number of refugees and the onset of winter make the situation ever more urgent. Our funding will support UNRWA to address the needs of the Palestinian refugees, who are among the most vulnerable.”

Notes to the editor

Irish Aid is the Government’s programme for overseas development. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Directorate of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade