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Formation 1973
Type official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland
Legal status active
Purpose to support long-term development projects overseas and to inform the Irish public about the root causes of poverty and injustice
Headquarters Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland
William Crean, Bishop of Cloyne

Trócaire (Irish pronunciation: [ˈt̪ˠɾˠoːkəɾʲə], meaning "Compassion") 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,[1] 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 as two-fold:

  • 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.


Trócaire works in 127 programmes across 20 countries in Africa, Latin America and the Middle East. The charity aims to:

  • Support gender equality
  • Respond to Emergencies and Disasters
  • Address the HIV and AIDS crisis
  • Help people Trócaire works in over 20 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East
  • In 2012-13 Trócaire’s programme work benefitted over 2.7 million people

The charity also works across a number of programme areas, including:

  • Sustainable livelihoods
  • Human rights
  • Gender equality
  • HIV
  • Climate change
  • Emergency relief

Overseas Trócaire delivers support through local partner organisations and churches, helping communities and families to free themselves from the oppression of poverty, cope with climate change, tackle injustice and defend human rights. In Ireland, the charity raises awareness about the causes of poverty through outreach programmes in the education sector, through parish networks, and through public campaigns and advocacy work.


Trócaire was given a dual mandate: to support long-term development projects overseas and to provide relief during emergencies; and at home to inform the Irish public about the root causes of poverty and injustice and mobilise the public to bring about global change. Its work is also influenced by the experiences and the hopes of the poor and oppressed. Trócaire supports communities in their efforts to improve their lives, meet their basic needs and ensure their human dignity.

In 1982, Trócaire worker Sally O’Neill and Michael D Higgins (later elected President of Ireland) visited El Salvador to investigate reports of a massacre. Trócaire came under huge pressure from the US government which was accused of collusion with the forces who carried out numerous massacres in El Salvador. Sally O’Neill also worked in Ethiopia during the famine in the mid-eighties and played a central role in Trócaire’s response to the famine in Somalia in the early 1990s.[2]

In Humanitarian 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 welcomed the Irish Government’s decision to receive 4,000 refugees fleeing conflict into Ireland.[3]


  1. ^ Vatican Website, Full text of Popularoum Progressio.
  2. ^ "President marks retirement of Trócaire worker". Catholic Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "Trócaire welcomes Irish Government’s decision to receive 4,000 refugees into Ireland". Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 

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