Tuesday 19 March 2019

Sile Seoige: 'I'm shocked the government hasn't stepped up to support Childline'

Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Sile Seoige has admitted she is "shocked" and "amazed" that the government has failed to step up with €1m funding to enable the ISPCC's Childline to remain open at night from January.

The charity, which has been a lifeline for vulnerable children for 26 years, receives no government funding and lack of funding is threatening the night time service provision of their vital helpline.

"I'm amazed the government hasn't managed to step up and actually help in this situation," says Sile.

"I'm really shocked. And I know the country is struggling and we're all struggling.  I don't think anybody in the country isn't finding it hard one way or another and the government have to make decisions, but this is a service that's been around 26 years and the reality is, when you think about the type of children who need to make calls in the middle of the night and knowing there'll be no one there at the end of the phone to listen, to talk to them, I think it's really not acceptable in this day and age. 

"I'm shocked and I'm surprised and something needs to change."

Sile has recorded an original Christmas charity single, 'Maybe This Christmas' in aid of Childline and the Make a Wish Foundation Ireland, for which she is an ambassador.  The song has just debuted at No 7 in the Irish charts.

"I have the time and I love to sing so it seemed like a no-brainer," she says, "And I wanted to do something for the charities.  With Make a Wish you're talking about children with life threatening conditions who have these wishes they're hoping will come to life and if you want to make those happen you need money.  There's 200 children in Ireland on a waiting list."

Sile worked with producer Billy Farrell and songwriter Brian Flanagan and recruited friends from the world of TV, radio, and showbiz including Kathryn Thomas, Brian Kennedy, Mary Black and a host of other familiar faces.

"We had children too," she says, "And their voices give it that extra something.  The children there on the night understood why they were there.  I said, 'Do you know why you're here?' and one of the boys said, 'We're here because some kids our age, they're not as lucky as us.'  I was trying to keep it together.  I was very emotional."

The single received a boost this week when British broadcaster and author Stephen Fry tweeted to his 8m followers to buy the song, but Sile is anxious to "keep the momentum going".

Maybe This Christmas is available on iTunes for €1.29, and in record stores.  All proceeds go to Make a Wish Foundation Ireland and ISPCC Childline.

READ: Top 6 Irish Christmas charity singles (they'll only set you back €6.55)

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