NOT only has Limerick celebrated its sixth birthday as a Fairtrade city, but it has also been awarded best Fairtrade city for 2011.
More than a hundred guests recently took part in a celebration in Thomond Park, where members of the 2006 Heineken Cup winning squad signed a fairtrade rugby ball to be presented to the Thomond Park Museum.
Mayor of Limerick, Fine Gael councillor Jim Long, said this honour is a reflection of the committee’s hard work and dedication.
The mayor thanked all the businesses in the city who continue to stock Fairtrade products and the shoppers who purchase Fairtrade.
In 2005 Limerick city was awarded status as a Fairtrade city through the concerted efforts by local people to ensure that Fairtrade produce was widely available in the city.
Sr Delia O’Connor, deputy chairperson of the Limerick Fairtrade City Committee, said she has “a dream that the next Rugby World Cup will be played with a Fairtrade rugby ball and it is young people like you here today who can make that dream a reality.
“Why can’t Fairtrade sporting Limerick lead the way?” she asked.
Peter Gaynor, of Fairtrade Ireland, said he is delighted that Limerick city has won the honour this year.
“Again in 2011 the Limerick Fairtrade city group were to the fore in promoting Fairtrade in Ireland. The continuing growth of Fairtrade in Ireland - even in the teeth of the recession - is testimony to the work that people like Sr Delia and Dolores [O’Meara, chairperson] and the rest of the Limerick Fairtrade city group do throughout the year,” said Mr Gaynor.
Fairtrade is about getting a fair deal for farmers and workers in the developing world, such as better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade.
Products that carry the Fairtrade mark are guaranteed to meet these standards. It is argued that by selling and purchasing goods that have been fairly traded we can improve the prospects of many people in the developing world.
By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), Fairtrade addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives. In a recent survey across 24 countries for Fairtrade International 59 per cent consumers felt empowered to make a difference through their shopping choices.