The Embassy of Ireland in Liberia says they are determined to continue to support poor women and girls to live healthier, safer and more empowered lives as well as support Liberians to participate in inclusive democratic processes.
Speaking at the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in Monrovia recently, which was attended by members of the Government, senior government officials, members of the Diplomatic and Corps as well as members of the Irish community and development partners, Ireland’s Ambassador to Liberia, Claire Buckley, recognised the need for greater Women’s Political Participation at all levels, and support the move to guarantee more equitable gender representation through legislation as well as engaging with women at the local level to take on leadership roles.
Ambassador Buckley spoke about Ireland’s five year Mission Strategy for Liberia, recalling the close bonds that unite the two countries.
“Our partnerships in the Health sector contribute to improved outcomes for mothers and their children,” she said. “We address nutrition through multisectoral approaches.
“And we work closely with our partners on tackling sexual and gender based violence, including through engaging with men and boys at community level.”
St. Patrick is Ireland’s patron saint, who is renowned for sharing his Christian faith with Irish pagans and working to abolish slavery in the process.
Patrick is also famed for using the three-leaf shamrock to share information about the Holy Trinity, and the shamrock is now a well-known symbol of Ireland, worn on 17th March, St Patrick's Day.
Legend also has it that St Patrick banished snakes from the island of Ireland.
Ireland opened an embassy in Liberia in 2018 to strengthen political, cultural and economic ties with Liberia and to support its international development programme, which focuses on supporting the most vulnerable Liberian citizens, those with the greatest need and those who suffer marginalisation.
She said Ireland’s efforts at the UN Security Council, and through their diplomatic engagements are focused on bringing an end to the war in Ukraine as soon as possible, ensuring accountability for violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and meeting the humanitarian needs of those caught in the midst of violence.
Ambassador Buckley noted that the event took place against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, stating: “This year, Ireland marks St Patrick’s Day with solidarity rather than celebration because of the war in Ukraine; the suffering that is being inflicted on the people, the dire humanitarian situation that is unfolding, and the threat that this war poses to international order, security and the global economy.
“We are proud to stand with our friends in Liberia in condemning the aggression in Ukraine and in calling for a peaceful resolution that protects lives and respects the sovereignty of Ukraine.”
Speaking about the democratic gains made in Liberia over the past two decades and the recent challenges to democracy across the region.
Ambassador Buckley said: “While this evening we acknowledge the terrible circumstance of the conflict in Ukraine, we recall that anti-democratic forces are at work in many parts of the world, including in the West African region. Liberia has made great strides over the last two decades in maintaining a multi-party democracy and in consolidating peace and stability. We will continue to work with the Liberian Government and international partners to build on efforts to achieve progress — to strengthen democratic processes to promote and protect human rights and to fight against high levels of corruption that erodes public trust.”
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister for Legal Affairs, Cllr. Deweh E. Gray, who spoke on behalf of the Ministry of Liberia’s Foreign Affairs, noted the long and sustained friendship between Liberia and Ireland.
She told Ireland’s Ambassador to Liberia that as a country, they appreciate the presence of the Irish Mission to Liberia, which has further strengthened mutual cooperation and ensured peace and assistance to the Government.
Cllr. Gray, with deep gratitude, expressed “appreciation to the people of Ireland for the support to Liberia during its period of crisis through its contribution of troops under the United Nations Mission in Liberia. The gallant service of your country men and women to the peace keeping mission helped restore peace, stability democratic government of Liberia.”
The Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister said the Government and people of Ireland remain a strong and dependable partner to Liberia by working together in all spheres of national development agendas, particularly in the area of gender equality and inclusion, and ensuring less fortunate, privileges of women and girls to have access to better healthcare, safer and more empowerment of livelihood as well as promote the participation of citizens in a democratic process.
“Madam Ambassador, the Government of Liberia also wishes to further recognise and express appreciation for the mission strategy of Ireland to Liberia 2019 to 2023, which provides for continued development as well as political, economic cooperation to Liberia,” said Cllr. Gray.