Written answers

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Diplomatic Representation

Photo of Maureen O'SullivanMaureen O'Sullivan (Dublin Central, Independent)
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100. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if he acknowledges the potential that large sporting events such as the World Cup have in benefitting the marginalised in other countries if they are taken into consideration from the beginning of its organisation; if he has made representations to officials in Brazil this year asking them to take into consideration local community needs, the need to bridge cultural and ethnic divides still pervasive in Brazilian society and to design the World Cup events with the rights of affected communities central to the process; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27965/14]

Photo of Eamon GilmoreEamon Gilmore (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Dún Laoghaire, Labour)
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Brazil has made remarkable progress in terms of economic growth and social development since its return to democracy a little over 25 years ago. Notably, and very positively, Brazil has developed and delivered policies that have lifted an estimated 40 million people from poverty. Large sporting events such as the World Cup have enormous potential to benefit widely the societies in which they take place and this has increasingly become a consideration for host countries, as the positive experience of the 2012 London Olympics has shown. Brazil has, from the beginning, taken a pro-active stand with regard to spreading the benefits of the World Cup, including through the choice of 12 host cities in order to ensure that the benefits of hosting the tournament would not be confined only to wealthier and more developed regions of the country. It is also my understanding that 100,000 free tickets have been made available to public school students, indigenous communities and the construction workers who helped to build the new stadiums.

The Brazilian Government’s projections are that the 2014 World Cup will increase the country’s GDP by almost 10 billion Euro and that, as well as investments in the match stadiums, the World Cup has led to an acceleration of investment in roads, airports and urban mobility projects, including public transportation, new urban roads, bus rapid transit and light rail vehicle systems. The World Cup is also expected to generate significant employment and revenue in Brazil’s tourism sector.

Brazil has a strong civil society sector with many non-governmental organisations operating within the country. These civil society organisations advocate on behalf of and provide support to marginalised sections of society such as minorities, people affected by disabilities and by poverty. Since the establishment of Ireland’s Embassy in Brazil fourteen years ago, Ireland has provided development assistance to small–scale development projects in poor and disadvantaged areas.

Funding of almost €3.3million has been channelled in the past five years through Irish Aid, the Government’s overseas development assistance programme, to support various development projects implemented by civil society organisations. This funding has been provided primarily through the Civil Society Fund (CSF) and In Country Micro Projects Scheme (ICMPS). The CSF supports Irish and invited international NGOs to undertake small-scale development projects, whilst the ICMPS enables Embassies and Consulates in countries without a bilateral Irish Aid programme to directly support micro projects addressing the root causes of poverty and injustice. Funding has also been channelled through Misean Cara which provides support for Irish missionary congregations involved in development work. Such congregations are actively engaged in a wide range of development work, focused, in Brazil, primarily on social justice, urban community and education initiatives.

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