Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade

Business of Joint Committee

3:30 pm

Photo of Pat BreenPat Breen (Clare, Fine Gael)
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I apologise for starting an hour late. We obliged the Joint Committee on European Affairs this room to host a visiting Turkish delegation. I also pass on apologies from three of our members who are unable to attend: Senators Clune, Walsh and Norris.

The minutes of the meeting of 18 September have been circulated. Are the minutes agreed? Agreed. I remind members, witnesses and those in the public Gallery to ensure that their mobile phones are switched off completely for the duration of the meeting; even in silent mode, they can interfere with the broadcasting equipment.

Before I hand over to Brendan McNamara, chair of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Ireland, I pass on sad news about Catherine Muigai Mwangi, the popular ex-Kenyan ambassador to Ireland and the head of the African ambassadors in Dublin, who had been before the joint committee on many occasions during the five years or so she was here. It is with deep regret that we learned from the Kenyan Embassy that her only child, Mbugua Mwangi, and his fiancé were victims of the terrible terrorist plot at the shopping mall in Kenya. It was a dreadful incident made even more so for those who know people affected by it. The reason Catherine went back to Nairobi was to be near to her son. Her son and his fiancé were due to get married and they were in the shopping mall buying wedding items when both of them were killed by the al-Qaeda network. Our sympathies go to her and her family. I suggest that we write to her through the Kenyan Embassy to express our deepest sympathy.

For those who wish to visit the Embassy of Kenya on Elgin Road, Dublin, a book of condolences has been opened. It will remain open this week until Friday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Some members of the committee have already signed the book of condolences. I went there yesterday morning to do so. It is a personal tragedy for Ambassador Catherine Muigai Mwangi.