Irish NGO forced to cut back

An influential Dublin-based NGO which opposes settlements in Israel is cutting back its West Bank activity due to a lack of donations.

Trócaire will be forced to pull out of nine countries over the next 18 months and cut back its work in 27 other countries.

The Catholic aid agency has been operating in Israel and the Palestinian occupied territories since 2002 and spent approximately €500,000 (£441,500) there in the last financial year.

But support from the Irish government has been dramatically cut and Trócaire will receive €7 million less (£6,180,000) than the anticipated €23 million (£20,307,000) to fund its overseas programmes.

Private donations have also fallen by 10 per cent, the organisation reported recently.

Some of Trócaire’s work in Israel and the OPT over the past two years has included a petition against the Gaza security fence, an opposition to the EU-Israel Association Agreement and providing funding for the rights of

Palestinians in East Jerusalem.

Earlier this year, a report by watchdog, NGO Monitor, said that Trócaire “fuels conflict” and has a “strong bias” against Israel.

Yanky Fachler, a member of the Dublin Jewish Progressive Synagogue, said: “Many people think that Trócaire has a long history of being anti-Israel. If they want to do good work, that’s their prerogative — but it’s when good work becomes a political stick to beat people with, that I have a bigger problem.

“I’m sorry for the recipients that they are reducing their work. I’m not sorry to see less Trócaire people around.”

Justin Kilcullen, director at Trócaire, said: “Trócaire has been forced to close food, agriculture and healthcare programmes because we simply don’t have enough money to keep all our programmes running.

“These cuts will have heartbreaking consequences for the families and communities with whom we were working.”

    Last updated: 11:46am, September 3 2009