I'm delighted to see that Bob Geldof is once more showing his tireless dedication to the cause of the world's poor by organising a musical extraganza to be known as Live Eight. The musical line up is spectacular, especially those performing in Hyde Park, London. However the music takes second place to the real issue, that of world poverty. The event has been organised to coincide with the meeting in Scotland of the G8, the world's most powerful leaders. Live Eight has been designed to send these world leaders the message that they cannot ignore the plight of those living in poverty around the world.
Whilst reading the Irish News I came across these shocking statistics;
The world's 3 richest people control more wealth than all 600 million people in the world's poorest countries
More than 10 million children die of hunger and preventable diseases each year - one child every three seconds, while 25 million in sub-Saharan Africa are infected with HIV or Aids. Each day 8,500 people - of whom 1,600 are children - die from HIV-related diseases.
Every day, 30,000 children die as a result of extreme poverty. Each day 50,000 people die of hunger and preventable illnesses.
It would cost less than one per cent of world income to wipe out world poverty.
More than 40% of the world's population live in low-income countries - yet these countries account for just three per cent of world trade.
I must admit to having been shocked by some of these figures. Too often, we get caught up in the petty trials and tribulations of our own lives and take basic things such as food and shelter for granted. Unfortunately too many people across the world do not even have these basics and I salute Bob Geldof and the organisers of, and participants in, Live Eight for bringing these crucial issues to the forefront of public debate. Ireland should be proud to call Bob Geldof one of our own. I hope that we will all be as generous as possible to these worthy charity and pay no heed to those who cynically dismiss this act of generosity and would prefer that the world would do... well... nothing!