Sunday 25 September 2016

Rocking against the scandal of our homelessness epidemic

A 'huge star' is set to headline INM's Rock Against Homelessness concert next month, writes Barry Egan

Published 27/03/2016 | 02:30

Stance: 'It's good to be part of something pro-active,' says Camille O'Sullivan Photo: Tony Gavin
Stance: 'It's good to be part of something pro-active,' says Camille O'Sullivan Photo: Tony Gavin

We have sunk pretty low into disgrace as a country when homelessness has reached such a crisis point in Ireland.

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When we hear of another family being forced to leave their home, or of children trying to do their homework in the back of cars, most of us feel emotions of anger and helplessness.

Can you imagine how the children feel?

There are over 1700 children homeless and living in emergency accommodation in this country.

Homeless young people are in plain sight on the streets of our towns and cities.

In response to this, some of country's biggest acts have come to together for a major charity concert, Rock Against Homelessness.

Camille O'Sullivan, The Strypes, Hamsandwich, Something Happens, Le Galaxie, Mundy, The Stunning, Roisin O, Brian Kennedy, Kila, Jerry Fish and Heathers - with others to be announced - will play in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin on Sunday, April 24, in aid of some of Ireland's most in need.

A very special guest, and a huge star, will also perform on the night, flying in that morning from America

"I'd like to help in any way I can - it's good to be part of something pro-active and supportive. Homelessness is heart-breaking to see and sadly seems to be getting worse," said Camille O'Sullivan.

Eamon Ryan of Something Happens added: "It is both sad and shocking to us that the current homelessness issue in Dublin, and in Ireland generally, should exist at all."

"The situation, particularly in the wake of the Jonathan Corry episode, is now worse than ever.

"The current lack of supply in the residential market along with the lack of controls on rent is dragging many families into the same homelessness trap," he said.

Le Galaxie said that they "are very happy to be involved in any effort to help raise money and awareness for the ever-worsening homelessness epidemic that we face as Irish people."

The concert is part of the Irish Youth Foundation's One For Ireland campaign - with the funds raised going to the four key homeless organisations (Fr. Peter McVerry Trust, Simon, St Vincent de Paul & Focus Ireland) under one umbrella appeal.

Niall McLoughlin, CEO of the Irish Youth Foundation said: "The number of children and young people who are now homeless in our country has gone beyond shocking. The speed at which this number is increasing is even more alarming.

"To address this crisis the four main homeless agencies have come together to ask everyone in Ireland to donate €1 on April 29 with the goal of raising €1m. The Rock Against Homelessness concert is a fantastic initiative and a great way to kick off the week and raise awareness for the campaign."

Independent News & Media, Ireland's largest media group, is the organiser of the event, following on from its successful involvement with the Irish Youth Foundation's Forever Young charity Christmas CD.

"INM is delighted to be organising Rock Against Homelessness to help raise funds for the chronic plight of those in need," said INM Group Editor-in-Chief, Stephen Rae. "One hundred years on from the ideals of the 1916 Proclamation, this is an opportunity for us all to reach out and help."

INM chairman Leslie Buckley said: "The issue of homelessness in Ireland is of major concern. While a lot has been made of the economic recovery there are those who are being left behind by society. The problem of long-term homelessness is being compounded by the new homeless, who are victims of the recession and who are losing their homes due to repossession."

"It is a fact that a very small percentage of the vacant residences in Ireland would solve the problem of homelessness," continued Mr Buckley.

"This crisis needs an urgent and holistic national response involving all the key stakeholders of the relevant Government ministers and departments, local authorities, the banks and NGOs such as the Simon Community and Focus Ireland."

Tickets for Rock Against Homelessness are available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide, and cost €25.00.

The price for a corporate box on the night is €1000. And if companies want to give back their box, then we can sell the box again with all the money going to Fr. Peter McVerry Trust, Simon, St. Vincent de Paul and Focus Ireland. For further information contact began@independent.ie

Sunday Independent

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