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September 04, 2008

Kildare Man takes lead role in Africa Aid Mission


Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheal Martin A County Kildare man has been given a lead role in a new Irish Government initiative to ensure that victims of war and famine in Africa will have easy access to vital food and shelter, according to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, TD.

Minister Martin says that Des Page, a former Army Officer from Naas and a Director of Services with Kildare County Council, is working on the ground in Ghana where Ireland is building a depot where emergency aid will be stockpiled.

“Des is a member of the Irish Rapid Response Corps which provides vital support to people in the immediate aftermath of disasters. He is overseeing the construction of a €600,000 Irish Aid humanitarian depot in Accra, Ghana where supplies will be stockpiled to respond to humanitarian needs in West Africa.”

“During his time in the Army Des served in the Middle East and South Africa. We are fortunate to be able to draw on people of his experience to support Irish aid efforts abroad.”

“The depot which Des is managing is one of a network of humanitarian hubs being established across the globe to ensure food and shelter can be despatched immediately when disaster strikes, others are located in Dubai, Panama and Italy.

“The recent earthquake in China, the cyclone in Burma and the war in Georgia have shown us that in times of emergency speed is essential if we are to save lives on the ground. The work that Des is now undertaking will dramatically increase our ability to respond to such events on the continent of Africa.”

“This year Ireland will contribute over €120 million in response to international emergencies, in addition over 50 experts like Des are available through our Rapid Response Corps to provide vital assistance on the ground. The work which these people provide is invaluable”, concluded Minister Martin.