Friday 20 April 2018

Constellation of stars join Riverdance and Haven to help the people of Haiti

Family time: Gay and Kathleen Byrne with grandchildren Saoirse (8), Sadhbh (10) and Cian (12), at the Haven Gala Concert last night. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Family time: Gay and Kathleen Byrne with grandchildren Saoirse (8), Sadhbh (10) and Cian (12), at the Haven Gala Concert last night. Photo: Fergal Phillips.
Niamh Horan

Niamh Horan

A host of stars turned out last night to support Haven's recovery work in Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

The event, in Dublin's Convention Centre, comes after Riverdance director John McColgan's "eye-opening and thought-provoking" trip to the region last November.

The director wanted to experience the first-hand reality of life on the ground in the country and document how the Haitian people are rebuilding their lives, following the widespread devastation of the third major natural disaster in Haiti in just six years.

Celebrities who joined Riverdance on stage included Mario Rosenstock, Brian Kennedy, Kila, Roisin O and Patrick Bergin. The event was hosted by Miriam O'Callaghan and Brendan O'Connor.

Haven aims to raise awareness and support for the people of Haiti - a country which remains one of the poorest in the Western Hemisphere.

Chairman and founder of Haven, Leslie Buckley, said that it was "a privilege" to welcome the McColgan family to the region. Mr Buckley explained how, during their visit, they had "witnessed the gravity of the situation", while greatly aiding recovery efforts by raising awareness through their documentary work.

Guests: Brendan O’Connor, Carmel and Leslie Buckley, Miriam O’Callaghan and Barry Egan. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Guests: Brendan O’Connor, Carmel and Leslie Buckley, Miriam O’Callaghan and Barry Egan. Photo: Fergal Phillips

"We aim to create further support, and appeal to the generous Irish public to join us… to help the people of Haiti in their recovery," he said.

Haven's team has spent the last eight years leading recovery work on the remote island of Ile a Vache, which was devastated by Hurricane Matthew, the most powerful hurricane to hit Haiti in over 50 years.

Last night, Mario Rosenstock kept the crowd entertained appearing for the first time ever on stage as Miriam alongside the real Miriam O'Callaghan. "Sometimes when someone does a characterisation of someone, like Trump and Baldwin, it grabs a hold," he said. "And I wonder why my impersonation of Miriam has grabbed such a hold. It's not just because I do an impression of her. There's a whole subtext - I have big blue eyes and she slaps men round for a living. So for me to embody that works well. She's been a good sport about it."

The biggest shout out of the evening went to Gay Byrne, who attended with his extended family. The 82-year-old was hailed - by the real Miriam - as being the "greatest broadcaster ever".

Sunday Independent

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