Dáil Éireann - Volume 649 - 04 March, 2008

Written Answers. - Departmental Programmes.

Deputy Billy Timmins asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position in relation to a group of transition year students from a school (details supplied) who are currently participating in the Young Social Innovators Programme; if there are opportunities or events that they could participate in to develop their project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8759/08]

  Deputy Dermot Ahern: The theme of the research undertaken by transition year students from Coláiste Bhríde in Carnew is very relevant. The promotion of gender equality is one of eight Millennium Development Goals agreed by Ireland and other members of the United Nations in 2000. My Department is contributing directly to reaching this Goal through Irish Aid funding for programmes in developing countries to tackle gender-based violence, female genital mutilation and other human rights violations.

The Young Social Innovators (YSI) programme in which Coláiste Bhríde is participating is a very valuable platform for showcasing projects such as this which raise awareness and understanding of development issues. In recognition of this, Irish Aid sponsors an award at the YSI event.

A next step for the students of Coláiste Bhríde Carnew is to visit the Irish Aid Volunteering and Information Centre which has recently opened on O’Connell Street in Dublin. The Centre offers an educational programme designed for transition year students which focuses on the Millennium Development Goals and Ireland’s role in tackling global poverty and exclusion.

A visit to the Centre would help set the research project in the context of the broader development effort and can provide ideas on how to carry forward their project work.

I will make arrangements for the official responsible for this area of work to make contact with the group to discuss their findings and to allow them to learn more about Ireland’s efforts in this important area.