AYV News, September 8, 2023
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Timothy Musa Kabba has welcomed the Ambassador Designate of Ireland to Sierra Leone, Aidan Fitzpatrick as he presents his letter of Credentials.
Ambassador Fitzpatrick said he is happy to return to Sierra Leone as ambassador since he and his wife first came to Sierra Leone in 1997 and worked in development programs for some time while they were residing in Segbwema, Eastern Sierra Leone.
He recalled the diplomatic relations between Sierra Leone and Ireland that started back in 2014, and he is coming at a time when the Irish embassy is in the process of developing its new strategy for the next five years.
“Because of the progress we have been making together and the successes within our programs, we are expanding in terms of staffing and finance. I think it’s indicative of our commitment to the country but also of the progress we’ve made together over the last number of years”, he said.
He said though his embassy’s programs focus on gender issues, they are equally interested in the nutrition and agriculture space; governance issues, and the education sector.
The Ambassador congratulated the Minister on behalf of Sierra Leone’s election to the UN Security Council in the non-permanent category which he called “a huge achievement”.
He recalled that the Republic of Ireland too was in the UN Security Council in 2021 and 2022 in the same non-permanent category. He appreciated the support his country enjoyed at the time from Sierra Leone and assured that Ireland would be pleased to share their UN Security Council experience with Sierra Leone as well.
The Minister welcomed the new ambassador to Sierra Leone and described his appointment as homecoming.
“I am very pleased that the Republic of Ireland has chosen someone that has hindsight into the affairs of Sierra Leone and at a very critical time like this when your program stream resonates with the national program of our government”, the minister said.
The Minister said that Ireland’s support for women and women’s affairs in Sierra Leone is huge which is in line with His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio’s overarching vision in terms of empowering women and girls.
He said that the enactment of the Gender Equality and Women Empowerment Act of 2022 promotes the affairs of women which has enabled them to have 30.4% representation in the Parliament of Sierra Leone as opposed to 14% previously.
This he said has also been replicated in government offices across the country where you have women as heads of parastatals, as ministers and deputies.
He commended the Ireland government for supporting education which is the flagship program of the government; noting the allocation of 22% of its national revenue.
The minister said Sierra Leone is aware of the support from the government and people of Ireland in the education, health care, food, and nutrition sector in the country.
The Minister highlighted investment opportunities in the areas of mining, agriculture, tourism, and other sectors and called on the ambassador to explore those opportunities for investors in Ireland.
“We look forward to working with your embassy… It is encouraging that you are expanding on your staff and the support to Sierra Leone. It is a testament to the peace, quietness, and the good governance of the country. I believe when embassies are very comfortable with the way the people are led, the way governance is conducted, it gives the country and our bilateral partners the confidence to properly establish in that country to seek and protect our mutual interest and values,” he affirmed.
Ambassador Fitzpatrick is a development specialist. Before his appointment to the Foreign Service of Ireland, he managed community development projects in Ireland, Sierra Leone, India, a goal, DRC and Rwanda.