Pictured at the event were, 2nd place winners, Fionn O Cinneide and Tiarnan O Seachnasaigh, The Model School, Deputy Mayor of Limerick, Cllr. Ger Mitchell, Justin Fitzgerald, Fairtrade, first place winner Alan Wallace from Desmond College with 3rd place winners, Caoimhe O’Mara and Sarah Kelly, Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh, Roxboro. Photo Alan Place/Fushionshooters.
Fairtrade banana farmer, Maria Genao from the Dominican Republic was among the special guests in attendance at the launch of Fairtrade Fortnight in Limerick today (Wednesday 2nd March 2016) as the organisation calls for further awareness of Fairtrade products. Ms Genao joined Fairtrade supporters from across Limerick and Ireland for the launch of the annual initiative which features a programme of talks and community events aimed at promoting awareness of Fairtrade and Fairtrade-certified products.
This year’s Fairtrade Fortnight campaign in Ireland focuses on the banana supply chain as it has emerged that just one in 12 bananas purchased here are Fairtrade, despite a huge four million bananas consumed in Ireland every week. Speaking at today’s launch in Council Buildings, Dooradoyle, Limerick, Maria Genao outlined the success and benefits of the Fairtrade movement in the Dominican Republic. “In my home country Fairtrade brings together farmers and producer organisations from small communities across the country,” she said. “In these communities, which are some of the most deprived, Fairtrade premiums have led to the construction of new schools and clinics and the establishing of cooperatives that finance women seeking to develop small businesses within their communities. It is imperative that people understand that every single Fairtrade purchase makes a huge difference in people’s lives.”
2016 is a particularly important year as Fairtrade Ireland celebrates its 20 year anniversary with recent statistics showing:
- Irish consumer spending on Fairtrade products has increased by 10% to approximately €250 million.
- Bewley’s has announced it will switch all branded fresh coffee to Fairtrade.
- Irish consumer spending on Fairtrade coffee increased by 11% in 2015.
- Irish consumer spending on Fairtrade bananas increased by 20% in 2015.
There are over 1.4 million producers, farmers and workers spread across more than 70 countries in the world participating in Fairtrade. Limerick City celebrated its 10th anniversary as a Fairtrade City in 2015 and this year Fairtrade. Ireland is celebrating the introduction of the first Fairtrade product – coffee – into Ireland 20yrs ago. Chairperson of the Limerick Fairtrade City Committee, Dolores O’Meara, said there is a lot more to do particularly to increase the sale of Fairtrade bananas.
“The variety of Fairtrade products available in our shops and cafes has increased substantially,” she pointed out. “The Fairtrade logo is recognised by a large percentage of Irish consumers and there are now 51 Fairtrade towns throughout the country which is all very positive. However we must make every Fairtrade purchase count. If we have difficulty sourcing Fairtrade bananas in our local supermarket, then we must ask for them to be stocked. If we don’t state our preference, nothing will change.”
This week’s launch of Fairtrade Fortnight saw the winners of the Limerick Fairtrade City Committee’s Poster Competition being announced.
Speaking at the launch event in Dooradoyle, Ger Mitchell, Deputy Mayor, Limerick City and County Council said: “I wish to congratulate the Limerick Fairtrade City Committee for their terrific efforts on behalf of producers in developing countries, as well as acknowledge the committee’s continued engagement with the wider public. The poster competition is a good example of this and serves to teach our younger people a very important lesson about the importance of supporting Fairtrade producers.”
“As important as it is to teach our children about eating healthy food, I think it is equally important that they be taught about where the food is sourced and who produces it. Our children are our future. By teaching them well they will lead the way for the next generation. Children nowadays are more worldly wise than previous generations and I have huge confidence in their capacity to embrace the Fairtrade ideal,” he added.
Targeted at schools and community development groups, the first prize in the competition was awarded to Alan Wallace , Desmond College, Newcastlewest.
Fionn Ó Cinnéide and Tiarnán O Seachnasaigh, An Mhodhscoil, O’Connell Ave, Limerick and Caoimhe O’Meara and Sarah Kelly, Scoil an Spioraid Naoimh, Roxborough, Co Limerick were awarded second and third place respectively.
A number of other students received ‘Highly Commended’ medals, including:
Simone Reddan, Katie Franklin, Chloe McInerney , Shannon Kerrigan, Corpus Christ PS, Moyross;
Ella OBrien, Scoil An Spioraid Naoimh, Roxborough;
Vimbai Sheehan, Lucy Webber, Donoughmore NS;
Eoghan Lane, John Bergin Roche, Alicia O Connor, Meenkilly NS, Abbeyfeale;
Rachel McCarthy, Isabelle Delaney, Milford NS, Castletroy;
Taibou Dede Gavi, Junior Okafov, Catarina Anadi, Ria Stenson, Our Lady of Lourdes NS, Rosbrien;
Sarah MacMahady, Sam Fulham Limerick Educate Together School, Mungret;
Donal O’Farrell, Majella Bennis, Ger Power, Áine Daunt, Agnes Crowley, Patricia Barrett, Brothers Of Charity Centre , Fairgreen;
Chloe Riordan, Desmond College, Newcastle West.
Fairtrade Fortnight 2016 continues until 13th March.
For more information take a look at the Fairtrade Ireland site here
Read more on the I Love Limerick site here