Dáil Éireann - Volume 663 - 08 October, 2008

Written Answers. - Official Engagements.

Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Taoiseach if he will attend a ceremony (details supplied) to mark the United Nations international day for the eradication of poverty; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34223/08]

[163]   The Taoiseach: I am unable to attend the ceremony to mark the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. My colleague, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who has primary responsibility for such matters will mark the day with an address to the Biennial Conference of the Irish Forum for Global Health in Cork on the same date.

The eradication of extreme poverty and hunger is the central objective of Ireland’s overseas development programme and the UN International Day is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the scale of the challenge and to renew our commitments. It is appropriate that it falls so shortly after the high level event on the Millennium Development Goals at the UN in New York last month, at which leaders from national governments, civil society and the private sector re-committed themselves to these important objectives.

The presence of myself, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister of State for Overseas Development in New York on that occasion, is a clear indication of our desire to play an important role in global efforts to combat poverty.