Trócaire donations reach highest levels in 14 years

Funds enabled agency to help almost three million people in developing world

Éamonn Meehan, Trócaire executive director: “Last year was a year of incredible generosity from the Irish public”. Photograph: iStock

Éamonn Meehan, Trócaire executive director: “Last year was a year of incredible generosity from the Irish public”. Photograph: iStock

 

Last year was one of Trócaire’s best ever in terms of fund raising and helping people in the developing world, according to its annual report, with income growing by 19 per cent.

The Catholic bishops’ overseas development agency said its income increased by €12 million to the second-highest level achieved in its 45-year history.

The volume of donations received was second only to those that followed the 2004 St Stephen’s Day tsunami in Asia.

Trócaire’s annual report for the 2017/2018 financial year shows income was €75 million, with some €29.1 million of this coming from public donations , up from €22.2 million a year earlier. It received €45.8 million in institutional grants, up from €40.1 million a year earlier.

The Lenten campaign remains Trócaire’s largest annual fundraising campaign and generated € 8.7million last year, while an emergency appeal for drought and conflict crises in east Africa brought in €5 million from a national church collection.

Trócaire said this money enabled it to help 192,800 people in Somalia, 75,000 in east Africa, 60,100 people in Malawi, and 28,000 in Pakistan with support in combatting gender-based violence.

“Last year was a year of incredible generosity from the Irish public,” said Éamonn Meehan, Trócaire executive director. “Much of this support is driven by parishes. In particular, I want to pay tribute to clergy around the country who do so much to promote and support Trócaire at parish level.”

Mr Meehan said worsening climate change was pushing many people into poverty.

“Droughts, storms and other erratic weather events push people into poverty and have a devastating impact on communities . . . The response from the world’s highest polluting countries, including Ireland, has been weak. A much stronger response is needed by those who contribute most to this global crisis,” he said.

It was also the case that “Trócaire’s staff and partners in certain areas have been forced to work against a worrying trend of civil-society organisations being denied the freedom to operate and speak freely,” he said.

“Populism has led to a growing disregard for human rights,” he said. “The freedom and space for civil society organisations to operate is tightening in many countries. This should be a concern for everybody. Like a free press, a free civil society is fundamental to democracy,” he said.

Noting that in October he will retire, “having worked for the organisation in a variety of roles since 1991,” he paid tribute to “to Trócaire’s teams around the world”.

Their “dedication, commitment and courage helps to transform the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people. Leading that team has been a great privilege,” Mr Meehan added.