Minister Killeen Welcomes Ireland-Belarus Agreement

Friday, 06 March 2009 - Minister of State Tony Killeen T.D. has welcomed the formal signing of an International Agreement allowing for children from the Republic of Belarus to continue visiting the Mid West Region.

The International Agreement relates to future visits of children affected by the Chernobyl disaster in Belarus in April 1986.

Minister Killeen said, 'The negotiations on this Agreement, which began in September of last year, culminated with a delegation of Irish Government officials meeting with Belarus officials last December. The wording of the Agreement was finalised at that time and I am now delighted to hear that the Government of the Republic of Belarus and our Ambassador have formally signed the Agreement.'

The local Deputy added, 'I know that many families around Clare, Limerick and Tipperary will be relieved that the agreement has been formally signed. It enables thousands of children from the contaminated areas in Belarus to continue to visit Ireland for many years to come.'

Minister Killeen paid tribute to the many local families who have hosted Belarussian children in recent years.

'During the Christmas period over 100 children stayed with families throughout the Mid West Region. I am delighted that the signing of the agreement between the Republic of Belarus and Ireland will enable such visits to continue in the future. In this regard, I would like to wish the host families and the Chernobyl Children's Project the very best.'



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