Musicians to rock against homelessness
A programme to tackle the contemptible housing and homeless crisis should be at the centre of any new government's list of commitments.
It is chilling to reflect on Focus Ireland's figures released last Thursday: 83 families became homeless in February and were referred to its family services in Dublin during the month; 208 families and 363 children became homeless in the first two months of 2016.
The overall number of homeless children in Dublin has doubled in the last year - with 1,616 children in emergency accommodation compared to 803 in 2015, according to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive last week.
As Roughan Mac Namara, Focus Ireland advocacy and communications manager, told the Sunday Independent: "These figures show that the family homeless crisis is continuing to deepen with more than 200 families becoming homeless in the first two months of 2016 compared to a total of 739 becoming homeless during the whole of last year.
"It's not enough for this caretaker Government and the next Government to say they want to tackle homelessness and name check it as a priority. They have to commit to a coherent set of actions required to achieve this urgently."
In response to this depressing crisis, Independent News & Media has put together a concert called Rock Against Homelessness at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin on April 24 in aid of Focus (through the One For Ireland campaign).
MTV and I'm A Celebrity... Get me Out Of Here superstar Laura Whitmore will MC on the night and a galaxy of stars will perform: The Strypes, Camille O'Sullivan, Something Happens, HamsandwicH, Mundy, The Stunning, Le Galaxie, Roisin O, Heathers, Jerry Fish, Brian Kennedy. (A major international star will also perform at the gig, which is fast selling out.)
"I'm so delighted to be involved in this gig," said Niamh Farrell of the brilliant HamsandwicH.
"Homelessness is a huge issue in Ireland at the moment. It's affecting so many people, so many families, not knowing where they will be from day to day. Living on the streets, in doorways, homeless hostels and hotels. Being moved around with children and whatever items they can carry with them.
"In this day and age, it's absolutely shocking," added Niamh.
Rock Against Homelessness is part of the One For Ireland campaign, which aims to raise €1m to fight youth homelessness throughout April (oneforireland.ie).
Proceeds from the concert (and from a charity CD that Independent News & Media is also releasing in three weeks featuring acts such as The Waterboys, Sinead O'Connor, Dolores O'Riordan, The Chieftains, The Saw Doctors, Tommy Fleming, Camille O'Sullivan, Mundy and Hometown) will go to Focus Ireland's youth projects. If you only go to one concert this year, buy a ticket and come to Rock Against Homelessness at the Olympia.
Tickets for Rock Against Homelessness are €25 from Ticketmaster. Phone and internet bookings are subject to 12.5pc (of €2.15) service charge per ticket agents