Government announces funding of €4 million for Palestinian Refugee Agency12 March 2014
Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore TD, and Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello TD today announced funding of €4 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for 2014. This will help UNRWA to deliver core services, especially in education and health, to Palestinian refugees and is in keeping with Ireland’s pledge to provide €4 million annually to support the agency’s core work between 2013 and 2015. €1 million of the annual contribution is earmarked for UNRWA’s programme of activities in Lebanon.
The Tánaiste said:
“I am acutely aware of the difficult humanitarian and economic situation affecting the lives of ordinary Palestinians. Political change and instability across the region and the ongoing crisis in Syria is causing even greater hardship. While only a political solution will provide real hope, Ireland is committed to helping alleviate the effects of this crisis.
“Ireland will continue to actively support a lasting and peaceful political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as in the wider region. In particular we fully support the sterling efforts of Secretary of State Kerry and his team to bring the current negotiations to a successful agreement. In the meantime, the support being announced today will help UNRWA provide essential services in health and education to Palestinian refugees.”
Speaking after a meeting in Dublin today with UNRWA’s Director of Operations in Gaza, Mr. Robert Turner, Minister Costello said:
“Ireland has been a longstanding supporter of the work of UNRWA. During my visit to Gaza last year, I saw the impact of the agency’s tireless work to meet the basic needs of Palestinian refugees across the Middle East.
“UNRWA operates one of the largest education systems in the Middle East, opening the doors of its 700 schools to nearly 500,000 pupils each day. The Agency’s network of 138 primary health care centres received in the region of 10 million patient visits last year. Ireland will continue to offer essential humanitarian support to address the ongoing basic and emergency needs of the Palestinian people.”
12 March 2014
Note to editors:
- Irish Aid is the Government’s overseas development programme. It is managed by the Development Cooperation Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
- Ireland’s support to the Palestinian people over more than two decades reflects the Government’s longstanding commitment to justice for the Palestinian people and to the development of a viable, sovereign Palestinian state.
- Ireland’s total funding to the Palestinian people in 2013 amounted to €10.7 million.
- This funding addresses both humanitarian and development needs; providing emergency assistance to the most vulnerable while also supporting the Palestinian Authority in public service delivery and civil society organisations in advocating for human rights.
- Ireland has provided a total of €38.09 million in funding to UNRWA since 2005, focused primarily on UNRWA’s General Fund, which supports the Agency in delivering core services, especially in education and health to Palestinian refugees.
- Ireland is a generous supporter of UNRWA’s Emergency Appeals with €4.64 million in humanitarian assistance provided to the Gaza Emergency Appeal since 2006 and €1.2 million to the Syria Emergency Appeal since the onset of the crisis.