Tuesday 17 July 2018

The Trocaire chief who changed how we think about third world aid

John Cooney

Brian McKeown, who has died aged 70, was the first director of Trocaire, the Irish Catholic Church's Third World development agency which has become internationally renowned for championing social justice and human rights.

Born in February 1939 in a Catholic enclave close to the Protestant Loyalist stronghold of Belfast's Tiger Bay, McKeown was educated at St Malachy's College before volunteering for missionary work with the Legion of Mary in Sierra Leone.

It was in this west African former British colony that the fun-loving but serious-minded young McKeown was confronted with structural poverty and political oppression.

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