‘Get your arses in gear…’

by Mark O'Brien

OSCAR-winning singer Glen Hansard delivered a searing rebuke to the Government during a protest concert on Tuesday.

Hansard was performing at the Songs & Words – A Home For All protest concert that was held outside the Dail on Tuesday.

Calling out Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy and An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Hansard sang in a reworked version of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s Happy Xmas (War Is Over): “Eoghan Murphy, Leo Varadkar, what’s the story? A doorway’s no place to be sleeping.

“A hotel’s no place to raise your children.”

Hansard also reworked the chorus to: “A very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year, let’s hope it’s a better one, get your arses in gear.”

The event was organised by Inner City Helping Homeless (ICHH), with Dil Wickremasinghe acting as MC.

A host of Irish artists, including Frances Black, Stephen James Smith, Emmet Kirwan and the High Hopes Choir, performed at the event.

Homelessness campaigner Erica Fleming, Fr Peter McVerry and ICHH chief executive Anthony Flynn were among the speakers at the event.

Speaking in a video recorded at the event, Flynn said: “We’ve had artists and speakers coming in here today to highlight what is the national scandal that is homelessness.”

The Social Democrats opened their nearby office for the day as a base for the artists. Co-Leader Catherine Murphy said the party was happy to assist with the concert.

She said: “We’re very pleased to have our office occupied today. It’s as part of the protest that’s happening outside in relation to the homelessness crisis.

“We should not lose our sense of outrage about homelessness. There’s nothing normal about it – it is completely resolvable.

“It is very poignant this time of year that people think of family and think of home. That’s why this event is happening today, because it is falling within that time that people think of family and home.

“The idea that there are 3,000 children without a home is just absolutely outrageous.”

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