Christy Dignam Exclusive: Dublin needs a political revolution

by Rachel Darcy

Singer Christy Dignam wants a “political revolution” to fix our “broken” system. 

The 60-year-old, who is battling terminal cancer, says “true blue” Dubliners are being priced out of their own city. 

Aslan frontman Christy warned that high-rise co-living schemes will take over the capital unless somebody stands up for the working man. 

He told Dublin Gazette: “They are tearing the heart and soul out of Dublin. It’s the people of the city that make it such a great place. 

“By gentrifying it they are ruining it. We need to stop this.” 

Christy spoke to us the day after undergoing chemotherapy treatment for a rare form of blood cancer.

He lost his dad, Christy Snr, to Covid-19 earlier this year and admitted it’s been “tough” to grieve because his dad, like hundreds more, was denied a traditional send off.

He said: “His coffin was sealed straight away. I think that the way it gives you a sense of closure going into funeral parlour saying goodbye, when you don’t have that it’s tough.”

Because he has a suppressed immune system Christy has been quarantining at home – singing for neighbours in the back garden of his Cabra home.

He had to cancel plans for a sixtieth birthday bash in May but the same neighbours surprised him with fairy lights and bunting strung from trees – “that was gorgeous”, he said.

He revealed: “When I grew up in Finglas you knew every neighbour but it’s not like that now. During this pandemic I got to know all my neighbours I hadn’t known at all for the past 20 years.

“Community spirit – for me that is the essence of this country and what made it a great nation. We saw the value of it in lockdown and hopefully it doesn’t just end when Covid ends.

“You can see it in all the flat complexes, they’re having bingo and all the rest. That is the way Dublin was, that is the way Dublin used to be.”

Christy recalls his shock diagnosis in 2013 when doctors gave him six months to live. His bucket list was short: make a traditional album and spend more time with his family.

He said: “I’ve lived a full life, I’m very lucky in the way I’ve lived my life. The house I live in didn’t matter a f***, the car I drove didn’t matter a f***, nothing mattered except being with my family.

“I was going around for half my life like a headless chicken, trying to find out what the f*** is life all about. Envying other people being at peace, happy in their own skin.

“There I was, and it was in front of me the whole time.”

Christy once contemplated emigrating to Australia and readily admits he’s glad he opted to stay. But he hit out at “corrupt politics” and called for a radical overhaul of the system.

He said: “I love Ireland; I love everything about being Irish, I love being a Dublin man.

“I sometimes look at the politics and the corruption and it sickens me, but I stay for the people, I love the soul of this country.

“When you look at the homeless problem, all the people who can’t afford to buy a house, then all these fancy flats being built… they tore the heart out of this city.

“All the young professionals, all the yuppies, young trendy bars… that is what is going to replace all the infrastructure that used to be there for the people.

“I don’t know what it is that we did in our past to give us the Government that we have.

“We voted for Sinn Fein in our masses, the people we voted out of Government are now back in Government. How can you fight against the system when that very system is stacked against you?

“We need a political revolution in this country.”

The outspoken singer also called for more supports for musicians and those in the entertainment industry who have no way of making a living during the pandemic.

He said: “You put out a record and ask the Irish DJs will they play it and they say ‘sorry it’s not our demographic’. F*** the demographic, we are in a crisis here.”

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