Foreign Affairs Committee to discuss Syrian and Philippine crises

November 19th, 2013 - Pat Breen

The humanitarian crises in the Philippines and Syria will be discussed tomorrow by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade, when it meets with UNICEF Ireland’s Executive Director Peter Power.
The devastating Typhoon Haiyan has killed an estimated 4,000 people and displaced about four million Filipinos, while the Syrian uprising has seen more than 100,000 people killed and 6.5 million driven from their homes since it began in March 2011.
Chairman of the Committee Pat Breen TD says: “It is clear that millions of people require humanitarian assistance in both countries and that, while the emergencies differ significantly, getting the aid to those who need it most remains a common challenge. Total official aid from Ireland since the Syrian crisis began stands at €10.8 million, while the Government yesterday announced a further €1.6m in aid for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, bringing Ireland’s financial commitment there to over €3m. Beyond official aid the Irish public have been generous to both causes, contributing significantly to NGOs such as UNICEF, which has a particular focus on children.

“Peter Power travelled to the Philippines in the aftermath of the typhoon and was in Syria last month. The Committee will gain from his perspective and on what extra measures Ireland, Europe and the international community could take to save lives in the Philippines and Syria.”

Separately, the meeting will consider the issue of US Immigration Reform, following a two-day visit by an all-party delegation from the Committee to Washington DC.

Deputy Breen continues: “A report on an upbeat visit to Washington DC will be presented to the Committee at tomorrow’s meeting. The official visit took in a round of meetings on the situation of the undocumented Irish in the US and on future visa access for Irish people. As well as some very encouraging meetings with key Congressmen, we were privileged to attend President Obama’s White House speech on Thursday October 24th in which he urged Congress to act on immigration reform by year’s end. We look forward to reporting the outcomes of the visit with the wider Committee and discuss the way in which we might support initiatives to resolve the unfortunate situation many of the undocumented Irish find themselves in.”
The meeting takes place at 2:30 pm tomorrow Wednesday 20 November in Committee Room 1, LH 2000 and can be viewed online here: