Foreign Affairs Committee to consider ongoing Ebola crisis with Sierra Leone Ambassador

March 24th, 2015 - Pat Breen

Ireland’s Ambassador to the Sierra Leone and Liberia Dr Sinead Walsh will appear before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade tomorrow morning to consider the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Since March 2014 when the outbreak was officially confirmed, the total number of probable, confirmed and suspected cases in West Africa is estimated at almost 25,000 people, with over 10,000 reported deaths.

Committee Chairman Pat Breen TD says: “This Committee met with a range of NGOs on the Ebola crisis last September, and heard stark and unsettling presentations on an Ebola virus that appeared to be out of control in a number of West African countries. Since then, the international response to the crisis has strengthened, and the geographical distribution of cases has contracted, making it easier for the international community, local authorities and NGOs respond to the crisis.

During the September meeting, there was widespread praise for Ambassador Walsh, who along with a small team in Freetown went far beyond the call of duty in coordinating Ireland’s response to the crisis. The resident Embassy staff were bolstered with Irish Defence Forces personnel in late 2014 and in all, Ireland provided €18.5 million to the affected countries in West Africa. The meeting with Ambassador Walsh will provide an opportunity for the Committee to assess how the current efforts to contain and eradicate the virus. We will also value her perspective on the next steps required by the international community to assist in the recovery of the three very fragile countries most impacted by the crisis.”

The meeting commences tomorrow Wednesday 25 March at 10 am in Committee Room 3, LH 2000 and can be followed live at:
http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/watchlisten/live-flashplayer/committeeroom3/