Trócaire Blog


April 16, 2015

Keep the pressure on for a strong Climate Bill

The Dail is on the verge of passing an extremely weak Climate Change Bill that has no specific carbon reduction targets. But it’s not too late for you to intervene.

This is an absolutely critical time for climate change action in Ireland.

It is vital that we now put pressure on members of the Oireachtas Environment Committee to ensure we get a strong, effective climate bill.

Your lobbying to-date has been heard.

We’ve already seen TDs from across the Dail bringing attention to weaknesses in the bill.

On Tuesday 10th February, Trócaire, together with Stop Climate Chaos organised a hugely successful mass lobby event on Ireland's Climate Bill. This event was organised to pressure our politicians to pass a much stronger bill than currently exists. Watch the video from the mass lobby event to see that your lobbying does work.

(To see more impact, read our blog on the mass lobby event)

But so far the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly TD, has not listened to the concerns of his colleagues.

What can you do NOW?

As the bill goes to committee stage, we now need to be loud and clear in letting the Oireachtas Environment Committee know what’s at stake.

We need to ask the Oireachtas Environment Committee to support crucial amendments to the bill. Read the amendments here:

Please tweet or email the committee members to send a clear message- demanding that they show leadership on this issue!


Suggested tweets:

Will you show leadership and strengthen #climatebill at Environ. Committee? Amendments here:

Please use your voice on Environ. Committee to strengthen #climatebill. Amendments here:


TD Contact details:

Helen McEntee TD: @Hmcentee or

James Bannon TD: @JamesBannonTD or

Noel Coonan TD: @NoelCoonanTD or

Robert Dowds TD: @robert_dowdsTD or

Michael McCarthy TD: @mmccarthyTD or

Tony McLoughlin TD: @TonyMcLTD or

Michelle Mulherin TD: @MulherinFG or

Fergus O'Dowd TD: @Fergusodowd or

Barry Cowen TD: @CowenBarry or

Catherine Murphy TD: @CathMurphyTD or

Brian Stanley TD: @BrianStanleyTD or

April 08, 2015

Join the conversation on climate change

Trócaire and Christian Aid are co-hosting ‘Prophetic Voices’, an inspiring evening of discussion on climate change on Monday, 20 April at Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin. 
Responding to climate change requires a shift in values in society. But where can we go to find the spiritual and ethical motivation we need to face the challenges ahead?
This session will explore where we can find inspiration in modern Ireland and how can spirituality and faith help to rebuild a deeper connection and appreciation of nature.  
The event will feature inputs from a variety of faith groups and spiritual traditions, as well as representatives from the fossil fuel divestment movement and young people involved in Trócaire Climate Change Challenge project.
Set in Dublin’s Christchurch Cathedral, buoyed by both choir and soloists, this event is sure to touch both heart and mind.  
The Prophetic Voices event is free to attend. Simply reserve your place via Climate Conversations Eventbrite page.
This event is the fourth of a series of five ‘Climate Conversations’ organised by Trócaire, Christian Aid, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, the Environmental Pillar, The Climate Gathering and others which aims to bring people in Ireland together for a new understanding of climate change. 
Climate Conversations

Event details: 

  • Prophetic Voices - Climate Conversations 2015 session IV
  • Music Room, Christchurch Cathedral, Christchurch Place, Dublin 8
  • Monday 20 April, 7-8:30pm followed by refreshments and conversations until 9:30pm.
  • Register to attend event on Eventbrite 


Live streaming of event:

Further information:


March 27, 2015

A new generation of climate activists

By Jen Murphy, Development Education Coordinator 
Trócaire engages with school students of all ages through our Development Education programmes on global issues like poverty,  human rights, conflict and the environment. We find the interest and enthusiasm of these students incredibly inspiring – and often share what we’ve learned from them with our colleagues here at Trócaire HQ. 
In the last year in particular, we’ve been so impressed with the work of young people in understanding climate change and acting for climate justice (how climate change impacts on people). 
For example, an increasing number of schools are taking part in the Green Schools initiative in southern Ireland and Eco Schools in Northern Ireland to promote sustainable living through whole-school action to earn Green Flag recognition.
In November last year, Trócaire ran its first Climate Change Challenge weekend – in which a group of 16-18 year olds from across Ireland participated in a variety of activities including a natural disaster simulation to explore the causes and effects of climate change, learn how to mitigate against these and become advocates for change in their schools and wider communities. 
At a recent session in Abbey Community College in Boyle, my colleague, Lauren O’Kelly met students from the Second Year CSPE class who are taking part in the ‘One Good Idea’ Project run by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
Trocaire's Lauren O'Kelly and students from Abbey Community College in Boyle Roscommon
One Good Idea participants Cian, James and Luke with Trócaire's Lauren O'Kelly
The project is aimed at raising students’ awareness and understanding of energy efficiency and climate change. It gives students an opportunity to come up with One Good Idea that will creatively inspire people around them to make lifestyle changes to save energy.
Two weeks ago, students from five local post primary schools gathered in Millstreet Parish Centre, Cork, for a Climate Change Seminar organised by Millstreet Community School and facilitated by representatives from Trócaire, Cork Environmental Forum and Global Action Plan.
Transition Year and 5th Years from Bishop McEgan College (Macroom), Coláiste Treasa (Kanturk), Boherbue Comprehensive School, Scoil Phobail Slaibh Luachra (Rathmore) and Millstreet Community School took part in this seminar and will facilitate peer-learning sessions on what they learned with the wider student population in their schools. 
Students at Millstreet Climate Seminar
Back row left to right – Heather O’Sullivan (Coláiste Treasa Kanturk), Gerard O’Hanlon (Millstreet Community School), Vincent Kiely (Boherbue Comprehensive School, holding ‘CJ’ bee – Climate Justice logo from Trócaire’s Lenten Campaign,) Tynan Kearns (Scoil Phobail Slaibh Luachra), Justin Coleman (Bishop McEgan College)
The day began with a speech given by Liam O’Donoghue, who is a Transition Year from Millstreet Community School. He reflected on how his awareness of climate change was ignited by taking part in the Climate Change Challenge Weekend in November. Since then he has been busy collecting signatures for a petition to urge the Irish government to strengthen the recently published Climate Action Bill.
As well as taking part in development education workshops, students from schools across Ireland are organising fundraising events to support Trócaire’s climate justice work. 
Schools raising funds for Trocaire's climate change work
Top left: St. Mary's High School in Midleton, Cork, learned about climate change and raised €1,833 from their 24 Hour Fast
Top middle: Elizabeth from Aquinas Grammar School in Belfast with her amazing Trócaire cake 
Top right: Chloe and Kelly, 6th years from Presentation School, Tipperary, making a poster for their Trócaire fundraising
Bottom: 300 pupils and all of the staff from Presentation Secondary School, Ballyphehane, Cork, walked 6 miles today carrying buckets of water to draw attention to the global water crisis and raise money for Trócaire
And some students, both primary and post primary, express their solidarity for those most affected by climate change through poetry. We’re now making our way through the fantastic entries for the Trócaire and Poetry Ireland 2015 competition on the theme of climate justice and will be announcing winners in May. So, watch this space!

March 27, 2015

President of Ireland marks retirement of Trócaire’s Sally O’Neill

Yesterday, the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, marked the retirement of leading human rights advocate and Trócaire worker, Sally O’Neill, with a lunch in Áras An Uachtarain. 

The event honoured her contribution to overseas development and human rights over almost four decades. 

From Dungannon, County Tyrone, Sally  has been at the heart of Trócaire’s overseas work for 37 years. She will formally step down in early April. She is currently working as Trócaire’s Head of Region for Latin America, and is based in Honduras.  

Sally O Neill with President Michael D Higgins and Sabina Higgins
President Michael D Higgins and Sabina Higgins with Sally O'Neill in Áras An Uachtarain, Dublin on Thursday 26 March 2015. Picture Credit: Maxwell’s Picture Agency.

Throughout her career, Sally has worked on the frontline during some of the most significant global humanitarian crises. 

Within weeks of joining Trócaire in 1978, three bitter civil wars broke out in El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. Sally led delegations of politicians and bishops to Central America, so they could see the suffering, translating for Archbishop Oscar Romero six weeks before he was murdered. 

She oversaw humanitarian aid to more than two million refugees in the Central American region in the following years. 

In 1982, Sally and Michael D Higgins, (who was then a TD) visited El Salvador to investigate reports of a massacre in the village of El Mozote. They were initially refused entry into the country but were eventually granted access. They uncovered evidence of a massacre of civilians and their report from El Mozote made its way onto the pages of the international media, including the New York Times and Washington Post. 

Sally 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, establishing its programme in Gedo, which still operates today.  

In her current post, she oversees Trócaire’s work in Central America across Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. 

Sally was appointed by the President of Ireland as a member of the High Level Panel for the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad in 2012 and awarded the Hugh O´Flaherty Humanitarian Award in 2011.

After her retirement Sally will continue in her role on the High Level Panel for the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad in addition to working in a voluntary capacity as a facilitator with prisoners in Honduras who have been wrongfully convicted, and migrants in transit. 

Éamonn Meehan, Trócaire’s executive director said of Sally: 

“Sally O’Neill has had a truly remarkable career in overseas development and human rights. Through her belief in the dignity of all people, she has empowered so many to overcome the worst cases of poverty and injustice. 

Through her vision and commitment, Sally built the foundations of Trócaire, so that it could become the organisation it is today. I am convinced that this vision will continue to inspire the organisation into the future.”  

March 20, 2015

Trad for Trócaire hits Malawi

The Fáilte Band took Trad for Trócaire to the students of the Zuze Primary School in Dedza, Malawi this week.
Zuze is one of six villages in this area benefiting directly from the money raised during Trócaire's Lenten campaign last year. 
Since last October, four boreholes have been drilled providing 1250 people with access to water. Additionally, trees have been planted on the river banks to protect against erosion and to improve water retention. Over the coming months, the communities will help construct weirs and canals to enable access to water for irrigating their crops during the upcoming dry season. 
2000 goats and 3000 chickens have been distributed, and training has been completed on how to breed, house, and care for the animals so that thousands more families can benefit from them in future. 
A variety of seeds have been distributed to thousands of families so that the upcoming harvest will see an increase in food production, reducing the risk of food and income insecurity. 
Clean cookstoves have also been distributed to help families reduce the amount of firewood needed which lessens the burden for women, as well as protecting the environment. 
The band were delighted to see the difference your support is making.