Overseas development charity Trócaire has hailed the support of the Kerry public as ‘magnificent’ in a year which has seen so many challenges for the global population.

Trócaire’s CEO Caoimhe de Barra said that “this has been a year like no other with COVID dominating our lives”.

“Our whole way of life has been disrupted, in ways that we could never have imagined possible. Over 1.5 million people have lost their lives to the virus, an enormous human tragedy. Global lockdowns have put the brakes on the world’s economy and this has had devastating effects for people, especially in the poorest countries of the world. As we head into 2021 over 270 million people are facing hunger, that’s double the number since last year, due to the impact of COVID and drought.”

The pandemic has had other serious effects, she added.

“Women and girls have been particularly affected as violence against women has increased during the pandemic. The pandemic has also been used as a ‘smokescreen’ by many repressive regimes to clamp down on human rights. Despite calls for a global ceasefire during COVID, conflicts have continued apace and violence and oppression have forced people to flee for their lives. This year we passed a grim new milestone, for the first time there are over 80 million people in the world who have been forced from their homes.”

Yet there is cause for hope, she added.

“The fact that we now have COVID vaccines means that we can begin to hope that the end is in sight for the pandemic. The development of a vaccine so quickly is an inspiring story of human ingenuity and collective effort. It shows that if we have enough energy, political will and shared resources, we could rally together to tackle other global issues such as hunger and climate change.

“Our work in Ireland this year has been incredibly difficult with many outreach activities, particularly during our Lenten and Christmas appeals, having to be cancelled. Despite this our supporters in Kerry and right across Ireland responded magnificently and showed the solidarity and compassion for others that we are renowned for around the world and of which we should be very proud.”

To find out more about Trócaire’s work visit www.trocaire.org.