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At a glance: Ireland

Ireland’s celebrities support UNICEF through new book, For the Children - A Celebration of Families

© Robert Doyle/OSD Photo Agency
For the Children - A Celebration of Families

DUBLIN, 5 October 2004 – Yesterday, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern officially unveiled UNICEF Ireland's latest project: a book of intimate, never-before-seen photographs depicting many of Ireland's most famous personalities. The launch ceremony was hosted by the Westin Hotel in Dublin. The book is part of UNICEF Ireland's ‘Growing Up Alone’ campaign, which is raising funds in support of UNICEF’s work with the millions of children already orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.

Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson, Bob Geldof, Sonia O'Sullivan and Aidan Quinn are just a few of the many celebrities who are featured in the book, aptly entitled For the Children - A Celebration of Families.

"The book is a simple message about the importance of family bonds in all of our lives. The project acknowledges the key role of parents and extended family in the lives of all children, and, by contrast, highlights the vulnerability of children whose lives have been torn apart by HIV and AIDS," said Prime Minister Ahern.

© Robert Doyle/OSD Photo Agency
UNICEF Ireland Goodwill Ambassador Samantha Mumba helped to arrange the participation of 64 celebrities in the book project.

With the help of Goodwill Ambassador Samantha Mumba, UNICEF Ireland secured the participation of 64 well-known figures from every walk of Irish life. Robert Doyle and Marc O'Sullivan, of OSD Photo Agency, donated their time and services, yielding candid portraits of Ireland's most familiar faces along with their families.

During her trip to Zambia last year with UNICEF Ireland, Ms. Mumba saw firsthand the devastation that HIV/AIDS has caused throughout Africa. She explained what drew her to the book project: "I was privileged to witness UNICEF's tireless work in the field and I hope to draw as much attention to the forgotten plight of children who have been orphaned by AIDS. I jumped at the chance to support this project."

© Robert Doyle/OSD Photo Agency
Actor and UNICEF Ireland Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson appears in the book with his mother Kitty.

Actor and UNICEF Ireland Goodwill Ambassador Liam Neeson, who appears in the book with his mother Kitty, spoke about why he lent his support: "We all have so many memories of growing up surrounded by our families, and we carry these with us into adulthood, passing them on to our own children. It is quite hard to imagine the awful loneliness of growing up without a family, or to feel the pressure that children as young as 7 or 8 must feel as they try to care for their younger siblings. The powerful pictures in this book remind us of our need to respond to the AIDS crisis, and the heartbreaking consequences for the children left behind.”

To encourage Irish citizens to support the project, UNICEF Ireland Executive Director Maura Quinn said: "I have visited and met children in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Swaziland whose lives have been devastated by HIV/AIDS. By supporting this project, Irish people are ensuring that these children, who have already suffered way too much, can now receive the support and care they need and begin looking forward to a better future."

"The shocking reality is that 15 million children have already been orphaned by AIDS, and that millions more are living with sick and dying parents. We are committed to winning the battle against HIV/AIDS, and ending its deadly impact on the lives of so many children," concluded Ms. Quinn.

UNICEF Ireland hopes to raise in excess of EUR500,000 in the coming months from book sales. Retailing at EUR30, the book of photographs will be available at bookshops in Ireland nationwide (including Northern Ireland) starting 5 October. You can order directly from UNICEF Ireland by calling 011 353 850 767 999. You may also order online at UNICEF Ireland website.



Related links

UNICEF Ireland

How does HIV affect young people?

How widespread is the HIV/AIDS epidemic?

What needs to be done to fight HIV/AIDS?

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