Monday 26 September 2016

Musicians call for action on homelessness crisis at 'Rock Against Homelessness' concert

Published 24/04/2016 | 21:18

Laura Whitmore and Jedward pictured before the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre Credit: Damien Eagers
Laura Whitmore and Jedward pictured before the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre Credit: Damien Eagers
Niamh Farrell, left, lead singer with Ham SandwicH and Camile O'Sullivan pictured before the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre Credit Damien Eagers
Roisin O performs at the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre. Credit: Damien Eagers
Adam McIvor, Jack Brennan, Dave Blaney and Lawrence Kinlan pictured before the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre. Credit: Damien Eagers
Actor Lawrence Kinlan pictured before the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre Credit; Damien Eagers
Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Leo Varadkar at the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre. Credit: Damien Eagers

Musicians have called on the government to do more to address the homelessness crisis at a special charity concert on Sunday night.

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A sellout audience packed the Olympia theatre in Dublin as rockers and musicians from across the country came together to help the homeless community in Ireland.

More than 1,200 people ensured a packed house as acts such as Camille O'Sullivan, The Strypes, HamsandwicH, Le Galaxie, Mundy, The Stunning and Heathers came together in aid of those most in need.

The ‘Rock Against Homelessness’ event was hosted by MTV star Laura Whitmore.

Ireland’s homelessness crisis is so severe that 1,700 are left without a home in the country.

The event, staged by Independent News and Media, aimed to raise money for young people living on the street via the Irish Youth Foundation.

The idea was that people could see the cream of Irish musical talent while also doing something to address the country’s homeless crisis.

Róisín O said she was delighted to be involved.

"It was a no brainer to do it for such a great cause in a beautiful venue with some great bands.

"Around Dublin, you see it everywhere but that is just one aspect of it.

Roisin O performs at the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre. Credit: Damien Eagers
Roisin O performs at the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre. Credit: Damien Eagers
Adam McIvor, Jack Brennan, Dave Blaney and Lawrence Kinlan pictured before the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre. Credit: Damien Eagers

"There are young families and kids involved and something that needs to be talked about more."

Cork musician and singer Camille O’Sullivan compared the crisis with New York and London.

“We have to take it more seriously,” she said.

“When it involves children and people in vulnerable situations, some people need to leave their homes because of abuse and we are one or two steps away from that ourselves.

Niamh Farrell, left, lead singer with Ham SandwicH and Camile O'Sullivan pictured before the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre Credit Damien Eagers
Niamh Farrell, left, lead singer with Ham SandwicH and Camile O'Sullivan pictured before the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre Credit Damien Eagers
Minister Heather Humphreys and Minister Leo Varadkar at the Rock against Homelessness concert at the Olympia Theatre. Credit: Damien Eagers

“In London and New York, you see it there but Ireland seems to be in a terrible place.”

HamsandwicH singer Niamh Farrell said she was delighted to lend a hand last night.

“It's one of those gigs where you get asked to do it and just say yes. No questions asked.

“We all need to be pitching in and helping in anyway we can.

“It is such a huge issue at the moment and it needs to get spoken about.”







The concert was part of the Irish Youth Foundation’s “One For Ireland” campaign which aims to raise €1m in April to directly improve the lives of children and young people who are homeless and living in emergency accommodation.

All funds raised will be distributed throughout nine local regions to the main organisations dealing with the crisis on a daily basis, including Focus Ireland, Simon, Fr. Peter McVerry Trust and Vincent de Paul.

Sunday Independent columnist and feature writer Barry Egan was involved in organising the event.

He said it was important people remember how serious the housing crisis has become and the impact it is having on those who are left without a home.

“It is great that INM are organising it and putting work in but this really is about homelessness and helping organisations like Focus Ireland because the homeless crisis is absolutely shocking when you look at the number of people affected.”

INM Editor in Chief Stephen Rae said homelessness has to be at the forefront of everybody’s minds.

“When those less fortunate need support, it is up to each and everyone one of us to help in anyway we can.

“A lot of people have given up their time to make this event happen for a very worth cause. Hopefully, the funds raised will help make serious inroads to provide homes for those who most need it in the very near future,” Mr Rae said.

Arts minister Heather Humphreys said the government recognises the issue needs to be addressed.

"This is the arts of song and dance and music raising money and awareness for an important cause.

"We know it is a big issue at the moment and it is something that we need to address. It is something that we are very conscious of.

"There has been work done on it but there is a lot left to do."

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