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Friday 23 February 2018

'Leo's propaganda millions should be used to help homeless' - Christy

Christy Dignam performing at the Capuchin Day Centre. Photo: Laura Lynott
Christy Dignam performing at the Capuchin Day Centre. Photo: Laura Lynott

Aslan legend Christy Dignam played a free gig for the homeless and afterwards demanded Government action to stem the crisis.

"This Government talk their big talk... now put propaganda millions into helping these people," said the singer (57).

Dignam, who has terminal cancer, gave a rousing performance to the homeless at the Capuchin Day Centre, Dublin, at lunchtime on Friday, singing Aslan's signature tune Crazy World, Angie by the Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here.

After spending time meeting some of the homeless and embracing Brother Kevin Crowley, who runs the centre which feeds hundreds each day, the Finglas native called on the Government to step in to prevent the homeless crisis from escalating further this winter.

Disgraceful

"The Government and Eileen Gleeson [director of the Dublin Regional Homeless Executive] have made some disgraceful comments in recent days," the singer said.

"When you bring it down to a personal level, there's more than 8,000 people homeless in our country, and not all of those are alcoholics and drug addicts.

"There's mothers and their children who are homeless - more than 3,000 children who are out there without anywhere to call home.

"Can any of us imagine that as a child, that pain? They have nowhere to do their homework, on many occasions, no room of their own to go to, no space to play - it's just horrific.

"And there's nothing going to be done realistically between now and Christmas, and Christmas is a time for children.

"The Government have their finger up their arse, they talk the big talk and they have a €5m propaganda team to do that but would that money not be better put into actually helping solve the homeless crisis?

"What Ms Gleeson said about homeless people being the ones to blame for their situation, to put this in their lap, is ridiculous," he said.

"We are talking about families here, thousands of children. And for those who have addictions, who are on the street, this Government and State has to realise addiction is a disease.

"No one on the street chooses to be there."

The singer then revealed that he can relate to the crisis, as he was once homeless.

"Ten years ago, I was homeless for about a year, only I had my sister there for me and I ended up living with her for a while in Ballymun flats," he said.

Dignam was diagnosed with amyloidosis, an incurable blood cancer, in 2013 and underwent chemotherapy at the time.

Br Crowley said after Dignam's last-minute gig at his centre: "Christy is amazing and this today shows the big concern he has for the homeless and shows his heart is there for these people, who are real people.

"The very fact so many negative things have been said about the homeless recently is not good for them, and the likes of Christy coming in here to sing for them gives them the feeling they matter - and they do."

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