I would like to take this opportunity to thank your readers for their generous support during the year.

Your support means that we can continue to work in 28 countries around the world, supporting the poorest of the poor.

We work on long-term development projects so that people can break away from the cycle of poverty and deprivation. We also work in emergency situations, where your money is used to help people in horrifying catastrophes.

This year we have seen a significant and worrying fall in the Irish economy.

Working people are genuinely worried about their circumstances. In that context it is inevitable that we do all in our power to protect our own situation.

But with close to one billion people around the world without enough food to survive, it is important that we do all we can to continue the great support Irish people have shown to the developing world.

The generosity of the Irish people is essential to the work Concern is doing. This year the government made cuts in the region of €240m to its overseas aid budget. This is a cut of 25% in just 12 months.

The last year was marked in Concern by the death of Fr Aengus Finucane, who was the public face of the agency from its genesis during the war in Biafra in the late 1960s.

One of his frequent comments was: "Do as much as you can, as well as you can, for as long as you can, for as many as you can."

We in Concern are most grateful for your generosity and may I take this opportunity to wish you a happy and prosperous New Year.

Tom Arnold,

CEO Concern,

Camden Street, Dublin 2