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Trocaire logo.png
Typeofficial overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland
Legal statusactive
Purposeto support long-term development projects overseas and to educate the Irish about the root causes of poverty and injustice
HeadquartersMaynooth College, County Kildare, Republic of Ireland
William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne

Trócaire (Irish pronunciation: [ˈt̪ˠɾˠoːkəɾʲə], meaning "compassion")[1] is the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland.


The roots of the charity lie in Pope Paul VI's 1967 encyclical Populorum Progressio,[2] which called for people to take notice and respond to the injustices that were occurring all round the world. Then, in response to the 1973 floods which ravaged Bangladesh, Cardinal William Conway saw the need for a church agency which would co-ordinate charitable donations originating in Ireland. Trócaire's life began with a pastoral letter written in the same year by the Bishops of Ireland. In it, they set out the aims of Trócaire:[3]

Abroad, it will give whatever help lies within its resources to the areas of greatest need among the developing counties. At home, it will try to make us all more aware of the needs of these countries and of our duties towards them. These duties are no longer a matter of charity but of simple justice.

— On behalf of the Hierarchy of Ireland, Feast of the Presentation of the Lord, 2 February 1973.

The headquarters of Trócaire are in St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, County Kildare.[4]


Trócaire works in 127 programmes across 20 countries in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. The aims of the charity's programmes include supporting gender equality, responding to emergencies and disasters, and addressing the HIV and AIDS crisis.[citation needed] According to Trócaire's 2020 annual report, the charity's programme work benefitted over 2.5 million people.[5]

Overseas, Trócaire works across a number of programme areas and delivers support through local partner organisations and churches, with the goal of helping communities and families to free themselves from poverty, cope with climate change, promote gender equality, tackle injustice, provide emergency relief and defend human rights.[citation needed]

In Ireland, the charity seeks to raise awareness about the causes of poverty through outreach programmes in the education sector, through parish networks, and through public campaigns and advocacy work.[citation needed]


In 1982, Trócaire worker Sally O’Neill and Michael D. Higgins (who would later be elected President of Ireland) visited El Salvador to investigate the 1981 El Mozote massacre, in which the Salvadoran Army killed more than 800 civilians.[6] In 1984, Bishop Eamonn Casey, then chairman of Trócaire, refused to meet Ronald Reagan during the president's visit to Ireland, as a protest against the United States government's support of the Salvadoran military.[7] O’Neill also worked in Ethiopia during the famine in the mid-1980s and played a central role in Trócaire's response to the famine in Somalia in the early 1990s.[8]

In response to the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake disaster, the organisation raised a record €27.5 million through church collections, street collections, and private donations.

In September 2015, Trócaire applauded the Irish Government's decision to receive 4,000 refugees into Ireland.[9]


Trócaire each year runs a fundraising appeal during Lent, with Trócaire boxes distributed through churches and schools, then collected after Easter.[10] The 2015 appeal raised about €8.3million[11]


  1. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  2. ^ Vatican Website, Full text of Popularoum Progressio.
  3. ^ "Pastoral Letter of the Bishops of Ireland Establishing Trócaire". Trócaire. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
  4. ^ South Campus Map Maynooth College.
  5. ^ "Trócaire Annual Report 2019-2020" (PDF). 29 February 2020. Retrieved 4 November 2020.
  6. ^ Higgins, Michael D. (20 September 2016). When Ideas Matter. Head of Zeus Ltd. ISBN 9781784978266.
  7. ^ Byrne, James Patrick; Coleman, Philip; King, Jason Francis (7 April 2017). Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History : a Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781851096145.
  8. ^ "President marks retirement of Trócaire worker". Catholic Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  9. ^ "Trócaire welcomes Irish Government's decision to receive 4,000 refugees into Ireland". Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
  10. ^ "Our 2016 Lent campaign has launched with new-look Trócaire box". Trócaire. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  11. ^ Trócaire launches its 43rd Lenten campaign The Irish Times, 9 February 2016.

External links[edit]