AN Ennis homelessness campaigner has said she has been helping working families who are being forced to make the choice between paying for their rent or mortgage and food, writes Jessica Quinn.
Josie O’Brien was speaking to the Clare Champion ahead of next month’s ‘Clare Easter Concert’ in glór with funds raised being used to support local people in need and the homeless community.
The concert takes place on April 21 with Luka Bloom headlining, and follows the cancellation of two planned Christmas concerts due to Covid-19.
According to Josie the numbers of struggling people looking for help is rising all the time.
“It’s awful, and it’s just continuous, there is definitely more of a need out there. I know people who are actually working and they have to make a choice between paying their mortgage or rent which is going up or buying food for their families. I help them as much as I can by giving them food because they shouldn’t have to be making that kind of choice.”
The money raised from the concert will go towards an Easter dinner for those who are vulnerable, as well as the preparation of food hampers which will be distributed to those in need after Easter.
Josie is also in the process of collecting Easter eggs which she will donate to families she knows are in need of support.
Josie added that she has been “overwhelmed” with the level of support she has received for this fundraiser as well as her continuing work supporting others not just in Ennis but also
throughout the county.
As well as Luka Bloom, the concert will also feature performances by Mike Hanrahan, The Fiddle Case, Anne Rynne, Eoin O’Neill and Clara Butler, Steo Wall, Faye Moloney, Fennell School of Dancing, Sarah Ryan and the Cork Penny Dinners High Hopes Choir.
The concert starts at 8pm, and there will be music in the foyer from 7pm with Suzanne Murphy and Ray Horgan accompanied by Fiona Faulkes on piano.
Josie is “thrilled” that the concert is going ahead after having to cancel the previous two.
“It’s just brilliant and I’m really looking forward to it, I think everyone is. It wasn’t hard work to get to this stage because everybody who had already committed to doing it at Christmas said they were still on board. I was just so chuffed to hear that.
“Making the decision to cancel last Christmas, I put it up on Facebook to say I thought it was the right thing to do to postpone to keep ourselves and each other safe.
“It was definitely the right thing to do and I got the most positive response from everyone who said whatever you decide we’re with you.
“Now it’s going ahead and everything is done, the posters are up in glór and I just can’t wait.”
For more on the concert check www.glor.ie.