Saturday 29 April 2017

Geldof and galaxy of Irish stars hit the right note for charity fundraiser

The Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof plays to the 1,100-strong crowd at the Rock Against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin Photo: Frank Mc Grath
The Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof plays to the 1,100-strong crowd at the Rock Against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Bob Geldof and The Boomtown Rats led the charge as some of the biggest names in Irish music graced the stage in the annual Rock Against Homelessness gig at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin.

More than 1,100 revellers roared their approval while they belted out their one-time chart-topper Rat Trap.

A view of the crowd watching The Boomtown Rats
A view of the crowd watching The Boomtown Rats

The voluble star took the opportunity to demand immediate action to solve the escalating homelessness crisis in Ireland.

There was a palpable air of excitement when he invited The Strypes to join the Rats' performance, labelling them as the greatest new band to come out of Ireland.

Describing Glen Hansard "a hero of the homeless", Geldof lured the Oscar-winning singer/songwriter on stage to jam along to Rat Trap.

Sponsored by Independent News & Media, all proceeds from the event last Friday will go to Focus Ireland for its battle against the homeless crisis.

Katherine Lynch and concert organiser Barry Egan Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Katherine Lynch and concert organiser Barry Egan Photo: Frank Mc Grath

TV personality Katherine Lynch and comedian Al Porter were hosts for the night.

Niall Breslin, whose band The Blizzards played before the Rats came on stage, said afterwards: "Geldof is such a punk. It was brilliant to watch him.

"I have so much to learn from him. He said a lot about homelessness. The reason the problem hasn't been solved is because of bureaucracy.

"It's not because it can't be worked out. If we prioritise social issues, we can fix them.

Niamh Farrell from HamsandwicH Photo: Kyran O'Brien
Niamh Farrell from HamsandwicH Photo: Kyran O'Brien

"That includes homelessness, mental illness, right across the board. It's time to start putting people first again."

Concert organiser Barry Egan, of the Sunday Independent, said the evening was the "culmination of a year's work".

"The most important part of the night was highlighting the issue of homelessness in Ireland," he added.

"There are something like 2,500 children in emergency accommodation in Dublin which is a disgrace for a country like Ireland.

Glen Hansard on stage Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Glen Hansard on stage Photo: Frank Mc Grath

"The way any social issue gets solved - or at least radically improved - is to get more people talking about it and speaking out to simply say, 'This is wrong'."

Mr Egan also paid special tribute to the people who helped make the event one of the most successful to date.

He said: "I'd like to thank all the bands, and Al Porter and Katherine Lynch."

The journalist also thanked INM Editor-in-Chief Stephen Rae. "He gave it huge support," he added.

Focus Ireland communications officer Michelle Moran said the concert helped to shine a light on the whole problem of homelessness.

Sunday Independent

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