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We have every right to play New Year gig – Madness

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 Suggs, lead singer of Madness. Photo: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Suggs, lead singer of Madness. Photo: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

Suggs, lead singer of Madness. Photo: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

ROCK band Madness say they are more than entitled to headline tonight's New Year's celebrations in Dublin.

Co-singer Chas Smash, inset, has said he is aware of criticism that an English group rather than an Irish band had been chosen to close the final event of The Gathering at College Green.

"I've heard people saying that as the quintessential England band, we are wrong for this concert. That somebody like The Sawdoctors should be doing it.

"Fine by us, so if U2 show up on the night, we'll happily let Bono do a Live Aid. I'm sure he has something to say," Chas Smash told the Herald.

However, the band from North London boast Irish parents.

"The fact my real name is Cathal Joseph Patrick Smyth might be a giveaway and I grew up living in places like Bray, Sligo and Coleraine," revealed Chas.

Tonight, they join a line-up with local acts Ryan Sheridan, The Strypes and Seo Linn.

Smash said Madness fear the Dublin cold more than a surprise appearance by U2 upstaging them in College Green.

"We'll be busy trying to stay warm and dishing out the hits," Chas said.

Madness braved arctic conditions to play a concert to bring the curtain down on the BBC's Television Centre last March.

For more details on the concert and to buy tickets for the 3NYE Dublin Countdown Concert visit www.3nyedublin. ie or www.facebook.com/ 3nyedublin.

The coverage will be streamed live from College Green, hosted by Laura Whitmore on RTÉ One, and John Creedon on RTÉ Radio 1.

ksweeney@herald.ie