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Ministers Flanagan & Sherlock pledge €20m for those affected by Syria Crisis

Budget/funding, News/feature, Syria, 2016

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charlie Flanagan TD, and the Minister of State for Overseas Development Assistance, Trade Promotion and North South Cooperation Seán Sherlock TD, announced today (Thursday 4 February) Ireland’s pledge of €20 million for 2016 to support those affected by the Syria crisis, in addition to the €42 million provided since the beginning of the crisis. 

The announcement was made at the Supporting Syria and the Region conference in London, where Minister Sherlock is representing the Government, and which is being chaired by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

Commenting on this latest pledge of humanitarian support, Minister Flanagan said: “Today’s significant funding announcement sends a strong signal of Ireland’s continuing commitment to play its part in alleviating suffering of the people of Syria. Once disbursed, Ireland’s 2016 Syria funding will bring our total financial support for the Syrian people to €62 million since 2012. We are also committed to continuing support to Syria’s neighbours, in particular Jordan and Lebanon, which are bearing the brunt of the crisis.”

Pledge at London Conference brings Ireland’s total support to €62 million since the onset of the conflict

As regards the ongoing conflict, Minister Flanagan said:  “The Syrian conflict has led to the most serious humanitarian crisis for a generation. It is a leading cause of displacement in Europe’s neighbourhood, and has led to the threat of ISIS terrorism and regional instability across the Middle East. It is, therefore, in all of our interests to do what we can to end this conflict and Ireland strongly supports UN efforts to bring about a resolution to this tragic situation. Notwithstanding the suspension of the talks in Geneva yesterday, I am hopeful that once the parties come together again on 25 February that real progress can be made”.

The London Conference aims to raise some of the US$7.7 billion which the UN calculates is required to help over 20 million people in Syria and the region this year. The conference is focused on ensuring that ongoing support to Syrians is designed and delivered to meet long-term needs, including getting children back to school, helping adults re-enter the workforce, and equipping Syrians to be able to re-establish their lives.

Speaking from the Conference, Minister Sherlock said:  “The sustained suffering of the Syrian people has become a defining crisis of this generation. It has driven millions from their homes and we all have seen the daily plight of refugees. Ireland remains deeply concerned about civilians in besieged areas and their safe access to life-saving assistance. I am pleased to announce that Ireland’s pledge to the Syria crisis for 2016 represents an increase of over 40%, compared to our contribution in 2015.

“Today’s pledge of €20 million, through our NGO partners and the World Food Programme, will have a direct impact on the well-being of Syria’s citizens, who are experiencing traumatic situations on a daily basis. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, through the Irish Aid programme, will provide at least €14 million to its UN, Red Cross and NGO partners working in Syria and the region, while the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will provide €6 million in support of the World Food Programme’s Syria response.

"We will continue to work with partners who have the best access and reach inside Syria as well as with Syria’s neighbouring countries focusing on finding more effective long term responses to the impacts of this crisis.”