Friday 22 March 2019

Band Aid donation 'a thank you to the people of Ireland', says Geldof

Bob Geldof and Culture Minister Josepha Madigan with Dr Sandra Collins and Paul Shovlin from the National Library
Bob Geldof and Culture Minister Josepha Madigan with Dr Sandra Collins and Paul Shovlin from the National Library

The National Library of Ireland will hold exhibitions to showcase original material from Band Aid, after the charity's archive was donated by Bob Geldof.

One element of the deal to secure the archive for the library, which was sought-after around the world, was that it would be shown to the public.

Geldof said the decision to gift the material to his hometown was a thank you to the people Ireland for their support of the Live Aid and Band Aid movement.

As an example of the generosity of the Irish, he spoke about one case in which two elderly women gave their wedding rings to help raise funds.

The 1985 Live Aid broadcast was watched by 1.5 billion people and raised tens of millions for starving people in Africa.

"We could have gone to some wealthy university, they did offer us a lot of money, and a couple of the other institutions did as well," Geldof said.

"But, we want to ensure Band Aid's continuity.

"It has still got a lot of money, so we're going to continue as an organisation.

"But into the future, it's time now that the whole archive was catalogued and categorised, because there are too many aspects to it."

Geldof said students and schools will be able to look at the material.

"Of course, there'll be exhibitions here and that was part of the deal," he said.

The Department of Culture has committed €245,000 to digitise the collection and to facilitate the development of the archive by the National Library.

Among the material contained in the collection are letters from private individuals and well-known figures, original musical recording tapes, photographs, and reports of projects in Africa.


It will be transported from London to Dublin in the coming days.

President Michael D Higgins welcomed the gift from the rocker.

"It is a most thoughtful and generous gesture that will be appreciated for generations," he said.

"It is the decision of the National Library not to just accept the archive but to arrange a major exhibition at the National Photographic Archive that is to be particularly welcomed.

"As is the fact that the public will be able to view these unique archives free-of-charge.

"It is also heartening to learn that consideration is being given to a travelling exhibition of the archive."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar also paid tribute to Geldof.

"This donation of the Band Aid archive is a huge gift to the State," the Taoiseach said.

"Band Aid was a milestone of that era.

"It showed Ireland and in particular an Irishman taking the lead in tackling hunger and injustice."

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