More than 300 people attended the 2017 GOAL Ball at the RDS in Dublin?on Saturday?night to help mark the 40th anniversary of the humanitarian and development organisation, which was founded in 1977.
Famous faces from the worlds of politics, business, media and sport all helped celebrate four decades of GOAL's work, while also raising funds to support the agency's continued programmes in some of the poorest and most vulnerable parts of the world.
The Irish Government was represented on the night by Minister for Employment and Social Protection, Regina Doherty, who gave the keynote address, and by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney, who delivered a special message by video link from New York, where he was attending the annual General Assembly of the United Nations.
The event was compered by broadcaster, Pat Kenny, who later conducted an informal question and answer session with Irish rugby coach and special guest for the evening, Joe Schmidt.
In her speech, GOAL Chairperson, Anne O'Leary, paid special tribute to GOAL founder, John O'Shea; to the current management team; and to the many thousands of staff who have worked for the agency in almost 60 countries over the past four decades.
Ms O'Leary also thanked GOAL's major donors, including Irish Aid, and she reserved particular mention to all the people who have supported GOAL throughout the years by raising money and awareness of their work in innumerable ways.
A video played to guests on the night marked some of GOAL's major work since its foundation, including the organisation's intervention in Goma following the genocide in Rwanda in 1994; the recovery operation in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the devastation caused by the 2004 tsunami; and the agency's response to the recent Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Reference was also made on the night to GOAL's current operations, including their programmes for people suffering from the effects of conflict and drought across East Africa, and GOAL's ongoing projects in Northern Syria, where teams are providing more than 850,000 desperately vulnerable people with food, water and other critical services.
For more on GOAL's work, visit?www.goalglobal.org.