29 July 2022
By Tom Collins
The Sunday Independent’s hugely successful Rock Against Homelessness concert series in aid of Focus Ireland continues this, Summer. Cat Dowling will play Rock Against Homelessness at the Sea Church in Ballycotton on August 19th, supported on the night by First Class Coach and The Burma.
Cat’s show follows four very successful fundraising gigs in Dublin, Dundalk, Gorey, Sligo and Limerick earlier in the year. Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said, ‘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 41% in the last year. The crisis is deepening but it is also important to remember that we are ending homelessness every single day for a family, a couple, or some young people. Every day we help more people to secure a home and leave the nightmare of homelessness in the past and we couldn’t do this without events like Artists Against Homelessness.’
He added that he sadly fears the number of homeless people will continue to rise due to job losses during the pandemic and also the fact that the temporary eviction ban is now over. Mr. Dennigan concluded, ‘Focus Ireland needs to raise nearly 40% 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. We at Focus Ireland thank the Sunday Independent, Mediahuis, all the acts for these shows across Ireland, and to the sponsors Cadbury and Arachas Insurance.’
Peter Vandermeersch, CEO of Mediahuis who publish the Sunday Independent newspaper, organisers of Rock Against Homelessness in aid of Focus Ireland since 2016, had this to say: ‘Our company ‘Mediahuis’ has the word ‘huis’ i.e. ‘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.’
Cat Dowling said “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. 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.”
Finally Alan English, Editor of the Sunday Independent said ‘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.’
Huge thanks must go to all the acts who have played this series of gigs so far: Wallis Bird, Kojaque, Damien Dempsey, Shiv, EFE, Curtisty, Toshin, Odhran Murphy, Moxie, Dervish, Pauline Scanlon, Seba Safe, Honas, Strange Boy, Hazey Haze, SmallChurch, Enda Gallery, Jayne, Willzee and Deviant.
Tickets available on the door and from usual outlets; https://seachurch.ie/live-events/