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Friday 18 January 2019

Stars line up to join our Rock Against Homelessness fundraising concert

Big-hearted: Imelda May. Picture By David Conachy.
Big-hearted: Imelda May. Picture By David Conachy.
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

In response to the ever-worsening homelessness crisis, Independent News & Media has put together some of Ireland's best musicians and artists for a major charity concert, Rock Against Homelessness, in aid of Focus Ireland on May 13 at Dublin's Olympia Theatre.

The one and only Imelda May, along with Dermot Kennedy, Wyvern Lingo, Jack O'Rourke, Loah, Paula Meehan and Tara Flynn will join the High Hopes Choir for what promises to be a wonderful night. They will be joined by some very special guests, yet to be announced.

"The fact that anyone lives, if you can describe it as that, and sleeps on the streets in this day and age is a travesty," said Imelda May. "It's a sign that something major in our society isn't working, whether it be domestic abuse, child abuse, mental health issues, unemployment, an education system that aims for achievement through targets, not well prepared young adults, and fits to only some types of children, or any number of things.

"It can happen to any one of us and a homeless man or woman is one of us. I, for one, am passionate about this issue and I am honoured to play at Rock Against Homelessness to help in any small way I can."

Karen Cowley of the hotly tipped Bray trio Wyvern Lingo said: "We are absolutely delighted to be performing with the High Hopes Choir next month. The choir has given visibility and identity to a part of our society that most would rather avoid on the street. Homeless people in Ireland are so often judged on sight as 'addicts' or 'chancers'.

"Homogenising groups like this is something I saw with the refugee crisis. It wasn't until I was in Calais, meeting young boys and men face to face, that I appreciated that these were all individuals with very different stories, personalities and aspirations, and that everyone deserves the dignity of being seen as such, including the homeless ."

Focus Ireland advocacy manager Roughan Mac Namara said: "Sadly, the homelessness crisis continues to deepen as a record total of more than 9,000 people are now homeless in Ireland and more than 3,000 of these are children. It is truly shocking that the harsh reality is that one child became homeless every 3.5 hours."

Niall McLoughlin, CEO of the Irish Youth Foundation, said: "With constant reminders of the rising homeless figures, it is easy for the numbers to become the focus of the story, and for us to zone out and lose sight of what it means to be a child growing up homeless in Ireland."

Stephen Rae, editor-in- chief of Independent News & Media, Ireland's largest media group, said: "INM is delighted to be organising Rock Against Homelessness to help raise funds for the chronic plight of those most in need in Ireland."

Tickets for Rock Against Homelessness in aid of Focus Ireland are available from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and cost €35. Phone and internet bookings are subject to 12.5pc service charge per ticket, agents €2.15.

Sunday Independent

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