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Gilmore meets Bill Gates for aid talks

THE Tanaiste has hosted a breakfast meeting for billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.

The Microsoft founder, pictured, touched down in Dublin to discuss development aid priorities for Ireland's EU presidency. Eamon Gilmore said the pair also outlined negotiations on the size of the EU's emergency aid reserve and the European development fund.

Mr Gilmore said the Irish people have a deep respect for Mr Gates's successes in business and innovation, and his personal commitment to ending poverty, hunger and disease in the world.

"In particular I welcome the prominence he is giving to development issues," said the foreign minister.

"We are determined that these vital issues will remain central to Ireland's foreign policy.

"Our own experience of famine has shaped our national identity."

Mr Gates is said to be visiting a number of European countries ahead of a World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

During his trip to Dublin he will also meet Taoiseach Enda Kenny and President Michael D Higgins.

The computer entrepreneur established the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2000 which has since spent ¤25bn on development initiatives in more than 100 different countries.

hnews@herald.ie