Tuesday 19 February 2019

Trocaire seeks to address causes of poverty

Sir - In her article 'Extraordinary generosity must not be betrayed' (Sunday Independent, 9/1/05) Eilis O'Hanlon suggested that some of the funds raised by Trocaire and other agencies for the tsunami disaster may end up being used for other purposes.

Sir - In her article 'Extraordinary generosity must not be betrayed' (Sunday Independent, 9/1/05) Eilis O'Hanlon suggested that some of the funds raised by Trocaire and other agencies for the tsunami disaster may end up being used for other purposes. I wish to state clearly that it is Trocaire's policy that 100 per cent of funds raised during an emergency appeal are used solely for that emergency situation. The Asia Tsunami Appeal is no exception to this.

Ms O'Hanlon questioned whether the public was fully aware of Trocaire's use of funds in areas such as social education, advocacy and lobbying, human rights and peace building. Since its inception in 1973, Trocaire has sought to address the root causes of poverty, not just the symptoms. Indeed, many other organisations that started out purely as relief agencies have come to the same conclusion: that the enormous levels of poverty and misery in the world cannot be addressed merely by providing food, water, medicines and shelter to those in need, but that the underlying causes relating to unfair trading practices, human rights abuses, conflict and inequality also need to be addressed.

Ms O'Hanlon stated that the largest charities were not forthcoming about how they allocated funding and that finding out that information could be time-consuming, frustrating and frequently fruitless. A quick visit to Trocaire's website would have revealed our audited accounts which explain exactly how the money is spent. A phone call to Trocaire would also have provided all the necessary information and any clarification required.

All Trocaire-funded projects are appraised in accordance with the highest professional standards. It is well recognised that cultural, social and economic rights rank equally with political rights and Trocaire's work reflects that.

In conclusion, may I reassure those who have been so generous both to the victims of the Asian tsunami and to Trocaire over the years that their money is always managed and disbursed to benefit those in need in accordance with best international practice.

Justin Kilcullen, Trocaire, Maynooth, Co Kildare

Eilis O'Hanlon writes: So Trocaire's website "explains exactly how the money is spent"? There is a list, yes, but to take just one example, it says that ?24,634 has been spent in Colombia on a "training and exposure visit to strengthen the capacity of 12 indigenous NGOs working in human rights, peace building and conflict resolution." I still contend that most people won't have a clue what that means.

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