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Trócaire’s Mary Sweeney in Rwanda shortly after the 1994 genocide.

Since 1973, Trócaire has been challenging injustice and providing support to people living with its effects.

From civil wars in Central America to the campaign to end apartheid in South Africa, Trócaire has been vocal in speaking-up on behalf of the oppressed and marginalised.

This timeline highlights some of the key moments in the organisation’s history.


The Bishops of Ireland establish Trócaire in response to poverty and injustice in the developing world.


Trócaire leads a network of 17 European and North American agencies in providing relief to people affected by war in Vietnam.


Trócaire staff arrive into Cambodia on the first relief plane to land in Phnom Penh since the Khmer Rouge emptied the city.


Saint Oscar Romero is murdered in San Salvador. Saint Romero was a partner of Trócaire. We received a letter from him just weeks before his murder.


Future President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins visits El Salvador with Trócaire’s Sally O’Neill. They uncover evidence of a massacre in the town of El Mozate. Their testimony creates huge international attention. The US Senate convenes hearings into American collusion.


Trócaire establishes a major relief programme in Ethiopia in response to famine.


Cry Freedom is released. The film is based on books written by Donald Woods on a typewriter provided by Trócaire. Trócaire had been to the fore of the anti-apartheid campaign.


Trócaire establishes its presence in Somalia. President of Ireland Mary Robinson visits and creates international headlines.


Trócaire launches a £1m appeal to fund its emergency response to the genocide in Rwanda.


In response to famine in North Korea, Trócaire publishes newspaper ads under the slogan: “Let them starve -they’re only communists”. The Irish public respond with £4m in donations. It is the largest response of any European country.


The Asian tsunami results in €27m in donations to Trócaire. It is the largest humanitarian appeal in the organisation's history.


A drought in east Africa results in €9m in public donations to Trócaire. A massive humanitarian response is launched across the region.


Trócaire launches a campaign to ban trade between Ireland and illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank. In 2019, the Occupied Territories Bill is passed by both houses of the Irish parliament, although Government effectively vetoes it.


Trócaire begins its response to the war in Syria. The organisation begins providing aid to Syrians across five countries.


Former military officers are convicted of crimes against humanity for their role in the Guatemalan genocide. This is the result of two decades of campaigning by partners funded by Trócaire.


Ireland becomes the first country in the world to divest public money from the fossil fuel industry. This follows two years of campaigning by Trócaire.

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