During the summer of 1996 the late Alo Donnelly, the first Chief Executive of Concern Universal, a UK-based World Development agency wishing to expand into Ireland, approached Don Mullan having been informed that he was now working freelance.
Over dinner at a Dublin restaurant, Donnelly offered Mullan the job of heading up the agency’s Irish operation. By then Mullan had begun his career in investigative journalism and declined. However, after some reflection and consideration of a number of possible candidates, Mullan recommended a Derry-based associate, Richard Moore.
Moore had participated in Mullan’s re-enactment of the Choctaw Nations ‘Trail of Tears’ walk from Oklahoma to Mississippi in 1992, during which Mullan spoke to him extensively about his humanitarian work with AFrI. During his meeting with Alo Donnelly, Mullan recalled Moore’s expressed wish to do similar work.
On Don’s recommendation, Richard Moore was interviewed for the position and subsequently employed and resourced by Concern Universal to set up the Irish section of the charity. As Concern Universal’s origins came from the same seed as Ireland’s leading humanitarian organisation, Concern Worldwide, to avoid confusion its UK counterpart needed to register under a different name. Moore suggested ‘Children in Crossfire‘, the name of a 1974 BBC documentary that he had featured in. In 2006 ‘Children in Crossfire’ separated from Concern Universal and is now an independent charity in Northern Ireland, whose Chief Executive is Richard Moore.
In the Autumn of 2016 Concern Universal rebranded itself as United Purpose.