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24 July 2003 Edition

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Ahern urged to live up to his words on debt

A year to the day since the Irish government gave verbal support to the demand for total cancellation of the debt of the world's poorest countries, Bertie Ahern was urged to live up to his words by making this a priority of his EU presidency beginning next January.

The Debt and Development Coalition organised a National Day of Outcry for cancellation of the debt of the poorest people of the world on Saturday 19 July in Dublin. There was a public demonstration in Grafton Street and the signing of a petition at the Central Bank. Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD signed on behalf of Sinn Féin, along with other political parties and Third World development and solidarity groups. The petition was then handed in to Government Buildings.

A United Nations report launched in Dublin earlier this month stated that "campaigners convincingly argued that debts owed by developing countries to well funded institutions such as the IMF and World Bank and to rich country governments were an unjust burden on poor people who were paying for debts often incurred by since displaced corrupt leaders".

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