Michael Elmore-Meegan

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Thomas Michael Kevin Elmore-Meegan, D.Med (born 26 March 1959, in Liverpool), also known as Michael Meegan or Mike Meegan, is a British-born Irish humanitarian and the founder of several charities and non-governmental organisations, specialising in anti-hunger and community health care programmes. His brother is Simon Elmore, a Munich based Musician.

Elmore-Meegan co-founded the International Community for Relief of Starvation and Suffering (ICROSS),[1] an International aid agency operating in East Africa that describes itself as "a small international organisation working to fight poverty and disease in the poorest parts of the world.[2][3][4][5]

ICROSS Ireland closed in 2012, causing ICROSS International, based in Kenya, to extend its own programmes.


Born in Liverpool of Irish and French parentage, Elmore-Meegan was baptised by John Carmel Heenan (later John Cardinal Heenan). He spent his childhood between Grenoble in the French Alps, Freshfield, Lancashire, and at Rishworth, Yorkshire.He was influenced by the Mill Hill Missionaries in Freshfield. He spoke French and Latin by the age of ten.[6]

In 1971, he moved to Dublin, attending Terenure College, Dublin, run by the Order of the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (the Carmelites), where he graduated in 1977. He entered the Roman Catholic Society of White Fathers - The Missionaries of Africa/Les Pères Blanc - hoping to become a missionary. Due to a serious burn injury and keloid damage he left the White Fathers, instead completing a degree in Philosophy at the Jesuit Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy (awarded by the Holy See), following which he entered the Jesuit novitiate. Later, in 1989, he took an MSc in Community Health from Trinity College Dublin.

Michael Meegan

After Ecclesiastical training earning an Honours degree in Philosophy from the Holy See, Elmore-Meegan moved to Kenya at aged 20, where he settled in the Northern territories of the Great Rift Valley and began to perform development aid work among the local people. This was largely funded by his own inheritance and by close personal friends. In 1978 his early drafts of spiritual axioms, All Shall be Well, later to be a series of reflections on poverty was published by Collins in 1986 (Fount Religious paperbacks). He began sculpting at an early age, mostly working in clay and bronze. He still does private commissions in bronze.[citation needed]

Since 1980, he suffered a series of serious illnesses in Africa, ranging from cerebral malaria and amoebic and bacillic dystentry to cholera. In 1992 and again in 1999 and 2019 he received the Catholic last rites on three occasions. He handed over his position in ICROSS during his illness in 2019.[citation needed] He has never married being a Catholic Celibate adhering to the divine Office, and in the mid-1980s he adopted two Kenyans; a Samburu, Lemoite Lemako and a Maasai, Saruni OleKoitee OleLengeny, later to become assistant CEO of ICROSS Kenya, a role he held until July 2014.[citation needed]


Elmore-Meegan's first involvement in Africa was in Karamoja, Uganda and then with a number of health and development projects with Dr Robbie McCabe MD in Turkana. He then expended his work into sections of northern Mogadishu in Somalia, developing and interest in infant health and nutrition. He began to work among the Samburu and Maasai people to address villages devastated by diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis and the effects of repeated drought. He spent the 1980s mostly living amongst pastoral nomadic Turkana, Maasai and Samburu tribesmen in Uganda and Northern Kenya. A long-time friend of Wilfred Thesiger, he worked closely with traditional Samburu primarily north of Maralal.

In 1979, Elmore-Meegan, with Dr Joseph Barnes, founded the Community for the Relief of Starvation and Suffering (CROSS) which, by 1984, he renamed the International Community for Relief of Starvation and Suffering (ICROSS), which began funding health projects in Africa and India. He was supported in this work by Dr Wilfred Koinange, Director of Medical Services of the Kenyan Ministry of Health. Together with Fr Paul Cunningham CSSp, Fr Brendan O'Brien CSSp, and Dr Evan Sequeira, he established a series of community health programmes. After 32 years Dr Sequeira retired from the Board of Directors and was replaced by Dr Allan Soita.

By 1985 he had built health clinics and development programmes serving three pastoralist communities. Learning local tribal languages, Elmore-Meegan created a unique approach to community development, insisting that any planning had to be done by the members of the local communities in the local languages, not by others. He pioneered a series of grassroots locally appropriate health interventions as part of integrated community health strategies in close collaboration with leading research institutions including the Institute of Child Health, London. He developed a series of locally appropriate methods for reducing infectious diseases which have been widely adopted. In 1984 he established a branch of his charity in the USA. ICROSS East End expanded with the support of Norman Jaffe and Dr Kenneth Cairns MD, in Suffolk County, New York. ICROSS in Tanzania was established and quickly became self-supporting.

Sir Wilfred Thesiger (left) and Elmore-Meegan

His work extended into reproductive health and eventually HIV/AIDS programmes.[7][8]

Under Elmore-Meegan's leadership, ICROSS worked with a number of other organisations on a Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland led project, to develop a Solar water disinfection system that could be used by village households.([9] By the early 2000s, Elmore-Meegan had become a prominent, if sometimes controversial, figure in Ireland whose fundraising activities for ICROSS attracted the public support of former Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Garret FitzGerald and entertainment celebrities, including Elton John, Chris de Burgh, Caroline Corr, and Andrea Corr.[10]

His writing and charitable activity brought him Ireland's well-regarded 2003 International Person of the Year Award presented in a nationally televised ceremony by the Irish charity Rehab.[11]

Michael Elmore-Meegan and Manuel Scrima

There has been much media coverage of Elmore-Meegan. In May 2005, Ireland's RTÉ televised a documentary, When You Say 4000 Goodbyes.[12] After the broadcast, Elmore-Meegan's charity ICROSS received some 400,000 euros in donations.[13]

On 19 November 2005, When You Say 4000 Goodbyes was shown at Harvard University's prestigious Magners Irish Film Festival.[14]

On 5 May 2006, the documentary won the Radharc Award 2006 for the "documentary programme of outstanding quality which addresses a national or international topic of social justice, morality or faith."[15]

Elmore-Meegan worked with photographer and video maker Manuel Scrima on several projects and exhibited across Europe sharing Africa Awakes for ICROSS. The awareness advocacy exhibitions have been seen in 12 countries, Italy, Spain, Finland, Ireland, UK, Germany, Hungary, and France, as well as Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and South Africa.[16] Manuel Scrima is producing a book with Elmore-Meegan in fall 2016, featuring over a hundred images, Africa Awakes. As part of his advocacy campaigning, he produced his latest book, Celebration, in collaboration with Finnish photographer Julius Konttinen.[citation needed] Manuel Scrima and Elmore Meegan are currently working on a book together titled "Africa Awakes"


ICROSS has attracted controversy, in part because of concerns raised by Elmore-Meegan about the distribution of funds raised in Western countries in recent years by charities founded by him. The Irish branch of the organisation has been wound up as a result of his concerns. His qualifications have been questioned and those complaints disproved.[17]

Elmore-Meegan litigated successfully against The Irish Daily Mail in 2010. The apology, read before the High Court Judge and Jury, stated ""The newspaper ought not to have published these allegations and had agreed not to do so. We apologise without reservation to Mr Meegan for the damage and distress caused to him as a result." He later won a civil suit and received a settlement for damages and costs.[18]

In November 2014, Elmore-Meegan launched further defamation actions resulting from other publications in Ireland in the same year, which were successfully settled out of court. In July 2015, the Irish Examiner paid further settlement to avoid pending litigation. In July 2006, it was reported that Elmore-Meegan had misrepresented his credentials in a funding proposal when Duke University (USA) was attempting to secure a multimillion-dollar grant in the United States.[19]


  • 2008 Premio internazionale Exposcuola 2008 per l'impegno civile
  • 2008 Angelo della Pace
  • 2006 Fellow, Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland
  • 2006 Graves Medal Dublin
  • 2006 Honorary Doctor of Medicine (DMed), National University of Ireland[20][21]
  • 2003 International Person of the Year, ESB/Rehab People of the Year Awards[22]
  • 1988 Past Pupil of the Year Award, Terenure College, Dublin (Note: Terenure College lists the 1988 award winners as Michael Meighan which may be a variant spelling of "Meegan.")[23]



  • Elmore-Meegan, Michael & Julius Konttinen, May 2016, ICROSS, A Celebration in Images
  • Elmore-Meegan, Michael & Colin Meagle. 2016. Tribe of One: A Guide to Personal Happiness, London: Eye Books; ISBN 978-1-903070-63-5/ISBN 978-1-903070-45-1
  • Elmore-Meegan, Michael. 2016. 100 Ways to Change the World, London: Eye Books; ISBN 978-1-903070-45-1.
  • Elmore-Meegan, Michael & Sharon Wilkinson. 2008. Take My Hand.
  • Elmore-Meegan, Michael. 2007. Changing the World from the Inside Out: Connecting Your Intelligence, London: Eye Books.
  • Elmore-Meegan, Michael. 2004. All Will Be Well London: Eye Books; ISBN 978-1-903070-27-7.
  • Elmore-Meegan, Michael. 2006. Surprised by Joy: Out of the Darkness - Light, a Story of Hope in the Midst of Tragedy, Dunboyne, Ireland: Maverick House; ISBN 978-1-905379-05-7.
  • Elmore-Meegan, Michael. 1986. All Shall Be Well: On Compassion and Love, London: Fount; ISBN 978-0-00-627006-5.



  1. ^ Hickey, Shane (24 November 2003). "'Special' Mary is person of the year". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 30 January 2011. Other winners were: Dr Michael Meegan, co-founder of ICROSS The International Community for the Relief of Starvation and Suffering together with Dr Joseph Barnes MD (a former winner of the same award), an agency which cares for over 350,000 people in east Africa.
  2. ^ "About Us". ICROSS International. icrossinternational.org. Retrieved 30 January 2011. ICROSS is a small International Organisation working to fight poverty and disease in the poorest parts of the world. For over thirty four years ICROSS has worked with Pastoralist Nomadic tribes in East Africa fighting disease. Health professionals work with local communities in long-term development and health programmes. Elmore-Meegan also co-founded other charities including an Irish branch of the charity known as ICROSS Ltd. He opposed the direction of the group as alien to his vision, and the group broke with Meegan in early 2008.
  3. ^ Cullen, Paul (21 June 2010). "Future of embattled charity to be decided". The Irish Times. Retrieved 30 January 2011. A BOARDROOM battle is looming at the controversial charity ICROSS for control of more than €500,000 in charity donations. Elmore-Meegan won and forced the closure of the Irish group. Meegan had pursued money missing raised by him in 2005. They argue the money was raised on the back of publicity for his work and the proceeds of his books and should be released for use in his African projects. However, former associates who have broken with Dr Meegan over the allegations, are seeking to have the company wound up and its assets disbursed on other aid projects, they are under investigation for embezzling funds raised by him. ... Dr Joseph Barnes worked with Elmore-Meegan to close the Irish arm of the organisation. The Irish group closed down in 2012.
  4. ^ Meegan has challenged the Irish group of wasting money he raised on overhead, Google. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  5. ^ ICROSS profile, icrossinternational.org. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
    Meegan pursued money missing raised by him in 2005. The group argues that the money was raised on the back of publicity for his work and the proceeds of his books and should be released for use in his African projects. However, former associates who have broken with Dr Meegan over the allegations, are seeking to have the company wound up and its assets disbursed on other aid projects, they are under investigation for embezzling funds raised by him.
  6. ^ "Michael Meegan". Eye Books. eye-books.com. Archived from the original on 10 July 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2011. Michael Meegan was born in Liverpool and grew up in Freshfield moving to Dublin in September 1971. and now speaks seven languages.
  7. ^ Fitzpatrick, Karen (5 May 2006). "Radharc Award 2006 Presented To 'When You Say 4,000 Goodbyes'" (PDF). The Radhac Trust. radharc.ie. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2011. The documentary tells the story of Dr Mike Meegan's work in African villages devastated by Aids, malaria and TB. The aid worker, who was awarded an Irish People of the Year International Award in 2003 and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from NUI, went to work among Kenya's Masai people in 1979.
  8. ^ White, Victoria (9 September 1999). "Front/row". The Irish Times. Retrieved 31 January 2011.
  9. ^ "Solar Water Disinfection - A Water Treatment Process used at Household level". Euro-Mediterranean Information System on know-how in the Water sector. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  10. ^ Caden, Sarah (14 March 2010). "Worthy causes a risky business for stars". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 30 January 2011. Not only was Elton John a supporter of Icross, but so was Dr Garret FitzGerald at one point, and, through the 1990s, their fundraisers were attended by the well-heeled, with the likes of Chris de Burgh, Rosanna Davison, Lorraine Keane and Andrea and Caroline Corr happy to be photographed at their events. And why wouldn't they? It was a good cause -- and the people in Ireland, at least, remain unblemished -- and there is a will on the part of celebrities to put their weight, their ability to draw attention to a good cause, to good effect.
  11. ^ "Ireland's People of the Year 2003 Announced". The Rehab Group. rehab.ie. 22 November 2003. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2011. Mike Meegan was named as the International Person of the Year for his work in helping large numbers of AIDS victims in East Africa.
  12. ^ "When You Say 4,000 Goodbyes". RTÉ Television-Factual Specials. Raidió Teilifís Éireann. Retrieved 30 January 2011. Dr Mike Meegan, Public Health researcher and scientist, has spent the past 25 years working in tribal villages in Africa where life is a daily battle against poverty, suffering and some of the most deadly diseases on earth.
  13. ^ "Generous Response to RTÉ Documentary". RTÉ News and Current Affairs. 5 December 2005. Retrieved 30 January 2011. An RTÉ television documentary 'When You Say 4,000 Goodbyes' on the work of Dubliner Dr. Mike Meegan, who has spent the past 25 years fighting poverty and disease in African villages, has resulted in over 400,000 euros being donated to his charity since the programme was transmitted.
  14. ^ "When You Say 4000 Goodbyes". Magners Irish Film Festival. Harvard Film Archive. Retrieved 30 January 2011. "In my 25 years in Africa I have said goodbye to more than four and a half thousand kids; I have kissed them goodbye - and I shouldn't have had to." Irish doctor and scientist Mike Meegan looks back on his career as a doctor among the tribal villages of Kenya's Massailand in this moving documentary by Jim Fahy. Exploring Meegan's battle with the ravages of AIDS, malaria and TB on the local population, 4,000 Goodbyes paints a powerful picture of the pointlessness of such deaths and of one man's attempt to do something about it.
  15. ^ Fitzpatrick, Karen (5 May 2006). "Radharc Award 2006 Presented To 'When You Say 4,000 Goodbyes'" (PDF). The Radhac Trust. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2011. The Radharc Award 2006 has gone to "When You Say 4000 Goodbyes", produced by Caroline Bleahen, RTÉ and presented by RTÉ reporter Jim Fahy. ... The Radharc Award is presented to a documentary programme of outstanding quality which addresses a national or international topic of social justice, morality or faith.
  16. ^ YouTube
  17. ^ Fitzgerald, Mary Anne. 1992. Nomad: Journeys From Samburu. London: Sinclair-Stevenson; ISBN 978-1-85619-146-3.
  18. ^ Healy, Time (13 November 2012). "Charity worker gets settlement and apology from Irish Daily mail over sexual misconduct claims". The Independent. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
  19. ^ Lyons, Tom (13 July 2006). "Famed charity boss lied in bid to get US grant". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 30 January 2011. A RENOWNED charity boss famed for his work in Africa lied about his qualifications when attempting to apply for a multi-million grant in the United States.
  20. ^ "Conferring of NUI Honorary Doctorates" (PDF). UCD Today. June 2006.
  21. ^ Text of the introductory address delivered by Dr Caroline Hussey on 7 April 2006 on the occasion of the conferring of the Degree of Doctor of Medicine, honoris causa, on Michael Elmore Meegan, nui.ie. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  22. ^ "Ireland's People of the Year 2003 Announced". The Rehab Group. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011.
  23. ^ "PAST PUPILS OF THE YEAR AWARD". Terenure College Past Pupils Union. nure.ie. 2010. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 1988 Michael Meighan Class of 1977

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