herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Hozier back efforts to help city taxi drivers battle depression and suicide

Hozier performs on stage
Hozier performs on stage

Hozier has supported Dublin taxi drivers’ use of music to fund suicide prevention.

The Irish singer has encouraged them to continue their campaign to highlight the high number of suicides among taxi drivers in the city.

Taxi drivers are combining to write a song to raise funds for two charities.

“We really appreciate his kindness when we told him about our planned fund-raising song,” said Tony Roe, who is

the spokesman for taxidrivers in the National Transport Assembly.

The song – entitled Life Is Hard – was written by Mr Roe, who will also be the main vocalist on the upcoming recording.

Musical accompaniment and backing vocals will be provided by other taxi drivers and bus drivers.

“A number of taxi drivers encountered Hozier when doing their jobs and they were really impressed that he is such a kind and respectful man.

“One of them showed Hozier a YouTube clip of me singing Heartache Tonight, backed by other driver musicians, and he was quick to praise our efforts,” said Mr Roe.

 “Then a driver introduced me to Hozier at a taxi rank recently and we told him about my new song Life Is Hard.

“He was such a very nice fellow for a big superstar and he was hugely supportive,” he said.

“He spent around 15 minutes listening to us and agreed to be photographed with us.

“We really appreciate his support and maybe other celebrities will follow his example in showing support for us,” he said.

Nightmare

Life Is Hard is due to get a studio recording in the near future and will be released on iTunes and on CD.

People will be asked to make a donation to Pieta House or to The Samaritans.

Mr Roe is also chairman of the National Transport Assembly, which acts as a forum for taxi drivers as well as bus drivers, train drivers, and Luas tram drivers, he said.

Mr Roe claimed as many as 55 cab drivers have taken their own lives in the past five years.

He said the nightmare of trying to scrape a living – in a chronically-overcrowded industry and in the teeth of a recession – caused a range of psychological and physical problems.

He claimed an average of 12 drivers were taking their lives in the capital every year as a direct result of struggling to make a reasonable living.

“There are a lot of contributing factors, but stress is without doubt the biggest killer we’ve come across,” he said.

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