15/01/2008

Ahern Meets With South African President

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has met with South African President Thabo Mbeki in Pretoria this morning on the second day of his visit to the country.

Mr Ahern also met with the Deputy President of the country Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka and attended meeting to encourage Ireland as a tourism destination and to promote further trade links.

The Taoiseach will also attend a seminar hosted by An Bord Bia to promote Irish beef in the wake of the recent reopening of the South African market to Irish beef exports and attend a business lunch hosted by Enterprise Ireland to promote Irish-South African trade links.

Enterprise Ireland has organised a trade mission of over 50 companies, including four businesses from Northern Ireland, to coincide with the Taoiseach's visit.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mr Ahern was due to travel to Atteridgeville Township, near Pretoria, to visit the Leratong Hospice, which cares for the terminally ill in the township.

The hospice is run by Fr Kieran Creagh from Belfast, who was attacked and shot twice at an Aids hospice he founded in the township, west of Pretoria, in March.

An Irish government spokesperson said: "The hospice is modelled on the work of the Harold's Cross Hospice in Dublin where Fr Creagh worked prior to moving to South Africa." The hospice has received funding from the Irish government since 2002.

Following the visit to the hospice, the Taoiseach will leave South Africa to head to Tanzania.

(KMcA)


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