Mission Today & Tomorrow was the theme of a recent conference aiming to address the reality of modern day mission, the work of missionaries and their role in Ireland’s overseas development programme.
The Minister for Trade and Development, Mr Joe Costello, paid tribute to the missionaries, hailing them as key partners of the Irish government in their continuing work across the developing world. His address to the Conference echoed some of the key ideas in the recently published Irish Aid policy document on development: One World, One Future. The Irish Aid document states that work of our missionaries remains an important aspect of Ireland’s contribution to development.
Though quite a substantial document it deserves to be read as it clearly demonstrates that, despite what is often trumpetted in various media, Irish people believe that we as a country should continue to reach out to the less well off in the world and support efforts to alleviate their poverty: “There is strong public support – including across political parties – for the aid programme. People want Irish Aid to maintain the high quality of its work, for which it has been internationally recognised, and they want us to keep them informed of progress.” (page 7 of OWOF).
Mrs Nora Owen was the Chairperson of the Expert Advisory Group who conducted the Review on which the new policy is based. A great debt of gratitude is due to her and the other members for putting so much effort and time, including travel to some mission areas for ‘in the field’ experience of how Irish Aid and particularly the millions of Euro given to projects under the care of Irish missionaires, is used to a very effective degree.
One of the key commitments – to achieve the target of 0.7% of GNI allocated to international development cooperation – was restated.
Read some extracts from Minister Costello’s address to the Mission Today & Tomorrow Conference, as released by the Irish Embassy, Abuja, Nigeria.