Microsoft founder visits Dublin
Microsoft founder Bill Gates was described as a “friend of Ireland” by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore following a one-hour meeting focused on overseas development aid this morning.
Mr Gates, the billionaire and philanthropist, met separately with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Government Buildings and will call on President Michael D Higgins.
Mr Gilmore said Mr Gates paid tribute to the work Ireland continued to do on development aid in difficult economic times.
“He had encouraging things to say to me about Ireland’s recovery. He expressed a very strong hope that Ireland would recover. He’s a very significant person in the world of business,” Mr Gilmore said.
“He’s very much a friend of Ireland. He expressed that friendship and that’s one of the reasons he was here today.”
Mr Gates is visiting a number of European countries ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos.
Mr Gilmore said Mr Gates expressed concern about where the European Union budget “will land” in terms of its international budget, 90 per cent of which goes towards development aid at present.
Mr Gilmore said he told Mr Gates the objective was to try to agree the budget early next month.
The pair also discussed the drive to end polio. “Ireland is very much involved in making polio history,” Mr Gilmore said.
He said the disease had been eliminated in India but remained a problem in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.