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Celebrating 50 Years of Trócaire: A Letter from President Michael D. Higgins

Trócaire extends its gratitude to President Michael D. Higgins for his support and genuine care for a better world.

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins pictured with the late Sally O'Neill in 2015. President of Ireland Michael D Higgins pictured with the late Sally O'Neill in 2015.

In honour of Trócaire’s 50th anniversary, President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins , has penned a heartfelt letter recognizing Trócaire’s five decades of impactful work in alleviating global poverty and injustice. Here we share the President’s message, which explores Trócaire’s commitment to creating a more just and equitable world. The letter was composed in light of Trócaire’s 50th conference, ‘Local Power, Global Justice,’ which took place on September 7th in Dublin to commemorate their remarkable 50-year journey.


Message from President Michael D. Higgins
Trócaire – 50th anniversary
7th September 2023


Is main liom mo chomhgairdeas a sheoladh chugaibh agus mo bhuíochas ó chroí a thabhairt do Trócaire as a n-obair fhiúntach agus iad ag comóradh 50 bliaín na heagraíochta.

May I extend my congratulations and sincere gratitude to all of the staff and volunteers at Trócaire on the occasion of your 50th anniversary.

Over the past half century, Trócaire’s dedication to alleviating global poverty and suffering have made a significant impact on countless lives. The compassion and empathy you have shown over these five decades demonstrates the positive change that can be achieved through collectibe efforts that support long-term development, as well as educational and advocacy work about the root causes of poverty and injustice.

The distinctive work of Trócaire, however, was its willingness to go beyond immediate humanitarian relief, desperately needed, and to challenge the structural sources of poverty and exclusion.

I have long been deeply aware of the work that Trócaire has undertaken in so many countries across the world. I recall in particular my visit to El Salvador in 1982 alongside my dear friend, the late Sally O’Neill, which was just one of the places in which I had the pleasure of working with Sally, the last being with the Mothers of the Disappeared in Colombia. Sally was a remarkable worker for justice who played an instrumental role in Trócaire’s endeavours.

What an urgent challenge it is today that, across the globe, over 800 million people live in extreme poverty, lacking access to proper nutrition, clean drinking water, and adequate health services. The first UN Sustainable Development Goal, ‘No Poverty’, includes specific targets to eradicate extreme poverty, and to ensure proper access to economic resources for all individuals globally. Ever more urgent work needs to be done to achieve this most basic goal.

During my own visit to Senegal earlier this year, where I addressed the second Dakar Food Summit, I stressed the urgent need to tackle poverty and hunger in Africa, for proper security in the most meaningful sense of that word, in the basic necessities of life, for promoting and delivering universal basic services including education and healthcare, and for a lasting, sustainable future built on fulfilment in its most comprehensive, inclusive sense.

Recognizing the power and influence of local civil society is pivotal in fostering sustainable change and achieving justice. It is through the collaboration and empowerment of these communities that transformative shifts occur, and the recognition that those most acutely affected by global inequality are best positioned to shape responses can ensure that the solutions crafted are effective, ethically grounded and sustainable.

As we celebrate this important milestone, may I once again express my sincere regards and gratitude for all that Trócaire has achieved. May this occasion inspire renewed determination and even greater achievements in the decades ahead, and I look forward to seeing the positive changes that you will bring in the years to come in your efforts to create a more equitable just, and fair future for all.
Arís mo bhuíochas libh uilig agus guím gach rath oraibh don todhchaí.
Beir beannacht.

Michael D. Higgins
Uachtarán na hÉireann.
President of Ireland


Trócaire extends its heartfelt gratitude to President Michael D. Higgins for his unwavering support and genuine care for a better world.

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