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Newry Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew, attended a Fairtrade event at Our Lady and St Patrick Primary School, Downpatrick on Monday 26 February 2018. The event celebrated Fairtrade Fortnight and also provided the opportunity for pupils to learn more about the benefits of supporting Fairtrade products. Council Chairperson, Councillor Roisin Mulgrew said: “Fairtrade Fortnight is aimed at supporting the farmers and workers who grow our food and this year the event runs from Monday 26 February to Sunday 11 March 2018. “The simple choice of buying a Fairtrade product can have such a positive effect on the lives of so many across the developing world. It is important for children to learn about Fairtrade as it shows them how they can help make a difference to the lives of people in the Developing World in a practical way where both parties are treated equally.” “The Council is committed to continuing its efforts to support Fairtrade goods including serving Fairtrade products at its offices and canteens. The Council also continues to work with communities to ultimately become a Fairtrade district and great work has been done in the Downpatrick, Newcastle and Saintfield areas to work towards achieving Fairtrade Status. “Both Newry and Warrenpoint were awarded Fairtrade status by Fairtrade Ireland in 2008 and 2009, respectively.” Fairtrade Foundation guest Father John Joseph, who is also a Fairtrade coffee and spice producer, spoke about the difference Fairtrade has made for his family and community in India. Father John Joseph said: “Fairtrade is a global movement for change to guarantee a better deal for disadvantaged producers in the developing world to alleviate poverty. “It secures better prices, decent working conditions, more environmentally friendly and sustainable practice, as no pesticides are involved, under fair business terms with products produced bearing the Fairtrade certification mark. It also presents producers with the opportunity to compete in the international market.” Our Lady and St Patrick Primary School Principal, Mrs Simone Prenter, said, “The topic of Fairtrade is a part of the school curriculum through learning about the ‘World Around Us’. It is important that children realise that people in the Developing World have similar aspirations to ours; they want to succeed in life, they want to fulfil their potential, to be happy, to be treated fairly and to be able to make decisions about their lives and their future, as we do. “Fairtrade helps enable them to do this. Today’s talk has brought the topic to life for our children and we look forward to becoming a Fairtrade school.” Also present at the event was Councillor Terry Andrews, member of the Newry, Mourne and Down Steering group, Mr Liam Conlon and Mr Aidan Vance, members of the School’s Board of Govenors, Primary Six staff member Áine Vance from Our Lady and St Patrick Primary School tasked with Fairtrade, Annie Irwin from Suki Tea who donated a Fairtrade basket to the Principal of the school and Dr Christopher Stange from the Consulate of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Secretariat of the All Party Group on Fairtrade who provided Fairtrade samples for the children. Newry, Mourne and Down District Council’s effort to become a Fairtrade district continues with the setting up of a Steering Committee. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Committee on a voluntary basis, to register to become a Fairtrade School or for more information, please visit: