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Local schools attended an event in Newcastle Community Cinema to mark Fairtrade Fortnight. The event was organised by Newry, Mourne and Down Council who recently achieved Fairtrade District status.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Deputy Chairperson, Councillor Oksana McMahon, who hosted the event, said, “Thanks to the hard work of the local steering group I am delighted that we have now received Fairtrade District status which means Fairtrade products are on offer to buy in local shops and catering outlets and this gives us all a powerful way to help reduce poverty through our everyday purchases.

Fairtrade Farmer from Banelino, Dominican Republic, Blas Arismendis Marcelino Guzman, Deputy Chairperson Newry, Mourne and Down Council, Councillor Oksana McMahon and a representative from each school who attended the Fairtrade Fortnight Schools Event in Newcastle Community Cinema. Back row l-r Jack Vance Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche, Clara O'Hare St. Patricks PS Drumgreenagh, Ryan Ritchie Crhist the King PS Ballynahinch, Aisling Vaughan St. Malachys PS Kilclief, Mia Murphy St. Malachys PS Camlough, front row l-r Oisin Murray St. Josephs Ps Carnacaville, Lily Farmer St. Oliver Plunketts PS Forkhill, Fairtrade Farmer Blas Arismendis Marcelino Guzman, Deputy Chairperson Newry, Mourne and Down Council, Councillor Oksana McMahon, Maria Watterson St. Patricks PS Legamaddy, Joel Reynolds, Our Lady and St. Patricks PS Downpatrick.
Fairtrade Farmer from Banelino, Dominican Republic, Blas Arismendis Marcelino Guzman, Deputy Chairperson Newry, Mourne and Down Council, Councillor Oksana McMahon and a representative from each school who attended the Fairtrade Fortnight Schools Event in Newcastle Community Cinema. Back row from left: Jack Vance Bunscoil Bheanna Boirche; Clara O'Hare St. Patricks PS Drumgreenagh; Ryan Ritchie, Chist the King PS Ballynahinch; Aisling Vaughan St. Malachys PS Kilclief; Mia Murphy St. Malachys PS Camlough; Front row from left: Oisin Murray, St. Josephs PS Carnacaville; Lily Farmer St. Oliver Plunketts PS Forkhill; Fairtrade Farmer Blas Arismendis Marcelino Guzman; Deputy Chairperson Newry, Mourne and Down Council, Councillor Oksana McMahon; Maria Watterson,  St. Patricks PS Legamaddy and Joel Reynolds, Our Lady and St. Patricks PS Downpatrick.

“I am delighted to host this event to hear how making the simple choice of buying a Fairtrade product when we are shopping—whether tea, coffee, sugar or any other food products-can have a positive effect on the lives of so many across the developing world.

“I am particularly pleased to welcome Blas to this event, who is a Fairtrade banana farmer, and currently visiting Ireland as a guest of Fairtrade Ireland. The Council organised this event for local schools, many of which study the Fairtrade topic as part of the curriculum within their Eco Schools work.”

Pupils had an opportunity to meet Blas, who works in the Bolenino Cooperative in the Dominican Republic. As part of his address he gave pupils an insight into how being part of a Fairtrade cooperative has helped him, his family and community. Pupils were able to ask Blas questions to get a better understanding of Fairtrade and how it works in practice.

Also represented at the event were Melanie Drea from Fairtrade Ireland; pupils from St Malachy’s Primary School Camlough who gave an excellent presentation on Fairtrade, and Dr Christopher Stange, Chair of the All-Party Group on Fairtrade. Mr Paul Davidson, Community Champion from the local Newcastle Tesco store, kindly donated some Fairtrade products for the event.

Schools can become Fairtrade Schools by taking part in the Schools Fairtrade awards at http://schools.fairtrade.org.uk/

Further information about Fairtrade and Fairtrade Fortnight can be found at www.fairtrade.org.uk and www.fairtrade.ie

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