President Michael D Higgins’s visit to Latin America

 

Sir, – The visit of President Michael D Higgins to Peru, Colombia and Cuba is an opportunity to draw attention to the important work done by Irish non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and missionaries in Latin America over many years.

Irish missionaries have a long history of working in Latin America in partnership with local communities. Today, they work with communities to demand justice and human rights, create sustainable livelihoods, provide education and implement measures for disaster reduction.

In Peru, the Columban Fathers provide citizenship training to children aged six to 12 years. These children work with local community organisations in Lima to create safe public places free from violence.

The Presentation Sisters are also working to train residents in Lima to build safe buildings that can withstand tremors in earthquake prone sites.

Christian Aid Ireland, with the support of Irish Aid, works on issues of peace, land and tax justice in Colombia. They work with local organisations and communities on human rights issues and support the protection of human rights defenders through advocacy, accompaniment, and awareness-raising

The relationship between Ireland and Peru and Colombia that is being celebrated by President Higgins’s visit would not be nearly as strong were it not for the essential work, historically and in the present day, of Irish NGOs and missionaries. This important contribution should be recognised and acknowledged. – Yours, etc,

SUZANNE KEATINGE,

Chief Executive,

Dóchas,

Olympic House,

Pleasants Street ,

Dublin 8.