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Rev David Gillespie Leah Farrell/
black santa

'It is a very humbling thing to act as a channel for people’s good will'

The annual Black Santa appeal is kicking off in Dublin today.

THIS YEAR’S BLACK Santa sit-out will be launched at St Ann’s Church on Dawson Street in Dublin today.

In an annual tradition, the Vicar of St Ann’s, Canon David Gillespie, and his colleagues will take turns collecting funds for charity outside the church. The sit-out will continue every day until Christmas Eve, from 10am to 6pm.

The sit-out is modelled on a similar appeal which has been run at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast for many years. It became known as the Black Santa appeal because of the long black cloaks worn by the clergy to keep out the cold while collecting money.

This is the 15th year of the appeal in Dublin, and in that time over €500,000 has been raised for local good causes.

Last year just over €30,000 was distributed to homeless charities including Trust, The Salvation Army, the Simon Community and the Peter McVerry Trust. Other charities supported include Barnardos, St Vincent De Paul, the Laura Lynn Foundation, Solas Project and Protestant Aid.

17/12/2014 Christmas Singing Scenes Archbishop Jackson and Canon Gillespie at last year's launch. Leah Farrell / Leah Farrell / /

Commenting on the appeal, Gillespie said: “This is my seventh year to lead the Black Santa appeal and each year I am astonished by the generosity people show. They donate knowing that every cent that we collect is handed over to the charities.”

Standing on the busy street we meet people from all walks of life who are keen to do what they can to support those less well off. It is a very humbling thing to act as a channel for people’s good will and generosity.

The sit-out will be launched at 12.30pm today by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Críona Ní Dhálaigh, and the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Reverend Dr Michael Jackson.

The choir of Kildare Place National School will sing at today’s event and several school choirs will perform over the coming days.

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