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Dublin: 10 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019
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Here's Ireland's answer to the Band Aid single, in aid of the homeless

The song features members of Villagers and Fight Like Apes, amongst others.

Source: Niall Jackson/YouTube

A GROUP OF Irish musicians have banded together to release a Christmas single in aid of the Peter McVerry Trust.

The project began as an idea put forward by musician Niall Jackson during his Masters course, and blossomed into a full-scale release to raise money to help the homeless.

It’s part of a project that Jackson and two of his fellow students, Ann Reid and Cara Kavanagh, are carrying out for their MA: to run a social media campaign where they can draw people’s attention to the issue of homelessness in Ireland.

Jackson, who works at TV3, had met Fr Peter McVerry through his job and was hugely impressed with his work. The three students contacted Fr McVerry’s trust to make sure they were happy with them raising money for the service, and then set about getting a band together.

christmas hearts villagers

The trio also set up a community on Facebook called ‘What is Home?’ “We started using TheJournal.ie articles and different articles on homelessness, we shared them and made people aware of the situation,” explains Jackson.

At the Hard Working Class Heroes music festival, Jackson recruited Conor O’Brien (above) from the Mercury Music Prize-nominated band Villagers and Shane Cullen from K9 Studios.

“They said yes straight away – there were no questions, they were in.” The next to join were Enda Canavan, Shane Murphy, May Kay from Fight Like Apes, and Brian Kelly.

They assembled a choir of mates, and then got TV3 colleagues on board to film and edit the whole day free of charge for the official video.

The CD will be stocked at HMV, and is for sale through Bandcamp and at the upcoming gigs.

“If we sold 1000 CDs at €4, there’s no reason we can’t raise €4,000,” says Jackson. “To me that’s amazing, from a couple of people giving up a day or two,”

christmas hearts

Dublin venue Whelan’s offered their services for free for the launch gig, as well as contributing towards the pay for the production of the CDs.

“Every single person has worked for free,” says Jackson.

He admits says there can be cynicism about charity singles, but says “fundraising is a funny one – you do have to choose your charities carefully”.

Attention has been focused on the issue of homelessness in Ireland, particularly over the past week, due to the tragic death of Jonathan Corrie. “That was absolutely something that was horrible to happen and hugely regretful – it has definitely put a focus on the homeless situation,” says Jackson.

The single will be launched at a gig in Whelan’s in Dublin on 11 December.

The Christmas Hearts campaign can be found on Facebook, Bandcamp and Twitter.

Read: ‘Hidden homeless’ a growing issue in Galway>

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