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President praises Concern's 40 years of global impact

This article originally appeared in the Irish Times on 14 February.

This article originally appeared in the Irish Times on 14 February.

We should be thankful that a good idea which started with a group of people around a kitchen table 40 years ago in response to the crisis in Biafra, has grown into the "global phenomenon" that is Concern today, President Mary McAleese said yesterday.

Speaking at a reception for former and current Concern volunteers and staff at Áras an Uachtaráin to mark the 40th anniversary of the charity, she noted the "sad reality" that every single day brings a new crisis, with Kenya suddenly on the radar today.

"Thank you for the good idea that began and grew over 40 years," she said. "We owe you just so much and we owe those whom you serve just so much."

Mrs McAleese added that the non-governmental, non-denominational humanitarian organisation is a conduit between each of us as individual citizens and as a community.

In this regard, she said the confidence which the Irish Government agency, Irish Aid, places in Concern is attested to partly by its allocation of some €150 million over five years to the organisation.

The chief executive of Concern, Tom Arnold, said the organisation had achieved a huge amount over the last 40 years, and is now regarded as one of the leading aid agencies in the world with real influence at international level.

For John and Kay O'Loughlin Kennedy, who founded Africa Concern in March 1968 in response to the humanitarian crisis in Biafra - which later became Concern Worldwide - yesterday's was about paying tribute to those who had helped the organisation over the years.

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