Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello has hailed missionaries as key partners of the government in their continuing work across the developing world. The Minister was speaking at the “Mission Today & Tomorrow” Conference on mission and missionary development at All Hallows College.
The Conference aims to address the changing reality of modern day mission, the work of missionaries and their role in Ireland’s overseas development programme.
Speaking at the Conference, Minister Costello played tribute to the work of missionary organisations and said “the long tradition and commitment of Irish missionaries has led the way for much of the Irish Government’s approach to development. Ireland is renowned for its professional overseas development programme. It is Irish missionary work that has given this programme its solid foundation.”
“Missionaries, both hundreds of years ago and today, actively choose to work in some of the most challenging and difficult situations. Irish missionaries tend to work in remote communities, working with those most marginalised and forgotten, people and communities for whom poverty, hunger and insecurity is an everyday experience”.
Minister Costello referred to the recently launched Policy for International Development “One World, One Future” and said “We once viewed developing countries as much poorer than our own. We need to recognise a new reality. Developing countries now hold most of the world’s foreign exchange reserves. Six of the world’s ten fastest growing economies of the past decade are in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa is now looked to for business and trade opportunities. Dependency on aid in many developing countries is reducing as domestic tax revenues overtake aid inflows.
“I see missionaries as key partners in the achievement of the goals of the Government’s development cooperation programme”.
The Minister emphasised the importance of working in partnerships in order to sustain into the future the long legacy of quality missionary work.
Minister Costello urged those attending to “work more closely together to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our development work. We must think of new ways of working, learn from our past but look to our future, and the interconnectedness of our world. We can always do more and always do better.
– The SMA Communications Director is grateful to the Press Office at the Irish Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria for the above extracts from the Minister’s comments.