Indie pop singer Cat Dowling has praised the ‘really tough spirit’ of the growing number of homeless people in Ireland as she embarks on another Rock Against Homelessness concert in aid of Focus Ireland later this month.
The Dublin-based performer will headline at the Sea Church venue, in Ballycotton, east Cork on August 19 as part of the Sunday Independent’s fundraising concert series in aid of Focus Ireland.
It will be her sixth fundraising gig for the homeless charity this year following successful gigs in Dublin, Dundalk, Gorey, Sligo and Limerick with support from Cork indie bands The Burma and First Class and Coach.
The Kilkenny-raised performer said the issue of homelessness is one that is very close to her heart.
“I know very brilliant, capable, highly intelligent people who have ended up on the streets.
"I knew a nurse sadly died on the streets. There is a fine line between the rise and the demise,” she said.
"There are so many amazing people in Ireland who do incredible work for the homeless.
"They look for no badges. These are the real unsung heroes. Nobody knows anyone else’s story. There are so many vacant homes in Ireland. We must address this. We must reframe how we think of the homeless crisis. We can find a solution.
"There are many layers to it. Homelessness and mental health go hand in hand. It takes a really tough spirit to survive the streets and to have no home. We all deserve dignity.”
Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said the fundraiser is badly needed as the number of homeless people in Ireland continues to grow and could get worse as the temporary ban on evictions introduced during the pandemic is over while the number of job losses due to Covid-19 is also expected to soar.
“The support we get from these events is amazing and vital to our work. We need this help now more than ever as there are over 10,300 people homeless and shockingly the number of children homeless has shot up 41pc in the last year,” he said.
“‘Focus Ireland needs to raise nearly 40pc of our annual budget through events like Artists Against Homelessness so we really need people to support these nationwide gigs.
"They are going to be great and will help raise awareness of the issues and give a voice to people who are homeless and others we have helped to secure a home to tell some of their own stories and show it is possible to end homelessness."
Peter Vandermeersch, CEO of Mediahuis, which publishes the Sunday Independent that has organised the Rock Against Homelessness charity concerts since 2016, said: “Our company ‘Mediahuis’ has the word ‘huis’ ie, ‘house’ or ’home’ in its brand name.
"We want to be a warm ‘home’ for our media in Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Luxemburg and, of course, Ireland.
"More importantly, we believe that every single person has an essential right to a home. The fight against homelessness is in the DNA of our company. “That’s why, for years already, we have been organising concerts in support
of Focus Ireland. So, let’s enjoy the music. But more importantly: let’s ban homelessness.”
Meanwhile, Sunday Independent editor Alan English praised the work of Focus Ireland in its ongoing crusade to end homelessness.“Some of the most important work being done in this country today is being carried out by Focus Ireland on behalf the homeless and those at risk of homelessness.
"It’s an organisation that greatly deserves Ireland’s support and I’m very happy that this series of concerts, supported by the Sunday Independent, is raising both funds and awareness.
"They also feature some fantastic artists, wonderful Irish performers who are giving their time and talent so generously.’
Tickets are available at the door and from the usual outlets.