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Musicians off to Oz as gigs dry up in city

AS a talented musician who has backed the likes of The Kinks, James Brown and BB King in Ireland you would think Johnny Reynolds would have no trouble earning a living in Dublin.

But the 51-year-old veteran guitarist from the International Blues Band has become so frustrated over the lack of gigs in the city he is emigrating.

Reynolds and his partner, both romantically and musically, Caroline McNicholas are in the final countdown towards a new life in Australia.


"We are lucky to get one gig a week in Dublin at present, five years ago you used to get four or five," Reynolds reflected in a room full of guitars and keyboards.

"The sad fact is that people just aren't going out to pubs and clubs any more in big numbers.

"The gigs are just drying up and I can't see any other option. At this stage doing them has become a hobby, you don't make a living anymore gigging."

He added: "I remember the Eighties very well when things were hard but I really think people today are far more depressed than they were back then.

"There are so many in debt who are struggling yet those who caused this crisis are not paying the price. "

The pair are planning to move to Canberra, the Australian capital, where McNicholas has landed a job as a nurse in a local hospital.

She currently works as a nurse in the Mater while she spends most of her spare time rehearsing and co-writing songs with Reynolds.

For McNicholas this is the second time in her life that she has been forced to emigrate.

She left Ireland in 1989 and worked in Jersey before returning home in 1993.


"I did not think things would get that bad ever again," she said. "It's worse this time because those that caused the financial crisis are getting away while ordinary people pay the price.

"I have lost more than €200 per month from my pay packet in the universal social charge and the public pay cuts.

"It's us nurses, public sector workers and the low paid that are paying the price.

"I am having my wages slashed to pay the debts of the bank but end up in more bank debt because of that injustice.

"It's quite disgusting when you think that ordinary people are being dragged into courts to explain how they can't pay their debts but there isn't a single banker up in court."

They hope to find gigs in the thriving music scene and Irish bars in Canberra.