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Adams - Cancellation of the debt of the poorest people in the world must be prioritised during Ireland's EU Presidency

19 July, 2003

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP this afternoon backed calls for the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, to make Debt Cancellation one of his priorities when he takes over the EU Presidency in January 2004. Mr. Adams said 'each of us has a real role to play in the coming months to turn the Irish government's support for the 100% debt cancellation into an active priority.'

Mr. Adams said:

"I am calling on the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to use Ireland's Presidency of the European Union to call on world leaders to work together to achieve the cancellation of foreign debt. Twelve months on, the Irish government needs to take a more pro-active role on this issue, and honour their commitment to 100% debt cancellation, both in the European Union and in the United Nations.

"The debt burden faced by developing countries is overwhelming. The UN has estimated that if the funds to pay off debt were diverted back into health and education the lives of seven million children a year could be saved. That is two million more than the entire population of this island.

"We share a collective responsibility to end this nightmare and I am calling on people to make their voices heard on the issue of world debt in the months ahead. I believe that political leaders who take risks and give leadership will win the backing and gratitude of people throughout the world. "ENDS

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