Dáil debates

Wednesday, 26 January 2005

Tsunami Disaster: Statements.


6:00 pm

Jerry Cowley (Mayo, Independent)

I wish to express my sympathies to the families of the Irish victims of the tsunami. I was in Kuala Lumpur on New Year's Eve to help a constituent who became ill. I am aware of the good work done by the Irish diplomatic service in the region. Ambassador Dan Mulhall has been extremely helpful to the constituent in question who fell ill just before the tsunami struck. The ambassador did great work to sort out the person's difficulty before rushing off to Phuket to co-ordinate the relief effort. I am aware of Ambassador Mulhall's hard work on behalf of Irish people in region, including visits to hospitals to try to identify victims, which is harrowing. I also pay tribute to Mr. Brendan Lyons, acting Ambassador in Kuala Lumpur while Ambassador Mulhall was in Phuket.

Terrible things happen and it is reassuring that the Government has contributed €20 million to relief efforts. However, considering our wealth and what is needed in the region, this appears to be a small sum.

The tsunami highlights the terrible reality that is part of life in many other nations. When one considers the number of people who have died from AIDS and the terrible tragedies taking place daily in Africa, Ireland has a great deal going for it. I do not wish to detract from the terrible tragedy and death toll of the tsunami, which also affected Irish people and their families and I convey my sympathy to the families in question. I hope we will do our utmost to increase our contribution.


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