FUNDING OF €4 million for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) which will deliver core services in education and health, to Palestinian refugees was announced today.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore and and Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello pledged the funds after in a meeting with the UNRWA.
€1 million of the annual contribution which is earmarked for UNRWA’s programme of activities in Lebanon.
The Tánaiste said that he is “acutely aware” of the difficult humanitarian and economic situation affecting the lives of ordinary Palestinians.
He said that political change and instability across the region and the ongoing crisis in Syria is causing even greater hardship to the people, adding, that “while only a political solution will provide real hope, Ireland is committed to helping alleviate the effects of this crisis”.
Speaking about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said:
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.
Minister Costello that Ireland has long been a suporter of the work by the UNRWA, stating that during his visit to Gaza last year, he saw first hand 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, with over 700 schools providing education to nearly 500,000 pupils each day.