Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello TD reiterated Ireland’s commitment to strengthening relations with Sierra Leone following the decision to open an Irish embassy in Freetown and the nomination of an Irish Ambassador.
Speaking during at an event at Wynn’s Hotel in Dublin to mark Sierra Leone’s Independence, organised by the Sierra Leone – Ireland partnership group (SLIP), Minister Costello said:
“Irish Aid has been actively engaged with Sierra Leone since the country emerged from a period of brutal conflict between 1991 and 2002. We have worked closely with the Sierra Leonean authorities and communities to improve health, tackle hunger and malnutrition and improve women’s rights since 2005. We take a leading role on nutrition and since 2009 have provided over €11 million to help ensure that women and children get the nutrition they need to survive and to thrive.
“Sierra Leone is still recovering from conflict and remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Consolidating the peace in the country has long been a priority of the Sierra Leone administration and it is one which has Ireland’s strong support.
“Ireland is committed to staying the course with countries emerging from conflict and instability and to supporting their transition to peace. Following the announcement last year that Ireland would be upgrading our presence in Freetown to a full embassy, I am very happy that the Government has this week nominated Sinéad Walsh as the first Ambassador of Ireland to Sierra Leone.
“These developments indicate in very concrete terms Ireland’s intention to continue to deepen our engagement in Sierra Leone.”