'It seems like a complete injustice to me' – State Lights gearing up to headline Galway concert in aid of homeless charities

It is a shame on Ireland that we have to rely on musicians to highlight what has become a terrible human crisis. Applaud, perhaps, then, that next Saturday, two great Irish bands — Brave Giant and State Lights — will perform at the Sunday Independent’s Rock Against Homelessness concert in Monroe’s in Galway in aid of Focus Ireland and COPE Galway.

Speaking about their services COPE Galway CEO Jacquie Horan said: “We are a local charity for people affected by homelessness who include women and children experiencing domestic abuse as well as older people. We also work together with community partners, groups, businesses and individuals, to help some of the most vulnerable and isolated men, women and children in Galway.”

Meanwhile, Focus Ireland CEO Pat Dennigan said, “It’s fantastic that there’s going to be a Rock Against Homelessness in Galway this month. It is great that Brave Giant and State Lights will headline.

“This is the first time that there will be a Rock Against Homelessness concert outside of Dublin. People tend to think of homelessness as mostly a Dublin problem but sadly people are homeless and at risk nationwide. There are now nearly 500 families and 1,000 children homeless outside of Dublin. There are also many individuals who are homeless or at risk nationwide.”

He added: “Events like Rock Against Homelessness are vital to help raise money for organisations like Focus Ireland and COPE Galway so we can be there to help when people need support. It’s also a great way to raise better awareness and understanding about the issues and to show that people who are homeless are just like you and me. They are just going through a bad time in their lives and need a bit of support and most of all they need a place to call home.”

Focus Ireland said that the Sunday Independent Rock Against Homelessness has provided amazing support for the charity’s work since the first show in 2015. The annual concert in the Olympia earlier this year — with Camille O’Sullivan, Aidan Gillen, Natty Wailer, Tommy Fleming, Deirdre O’Kane, Liam Cunningham and Laura Whitmore as MC — raised a record total of €25,000 that went directly towards Focus Ireland’s work challenging homelessness and changing lives.

“As a person who has never experienced the struggle of homelessness, it’s hard to describe my feelings,” said State Lights lead singer Shobsy.

“It seems like a complete injustice to me that it is still such a prevalent issue in this country. Particularly as the temperature drops it’s sickening to see an individual preparing to spend a night on the streets. It is like watching the beauty of human potential be wasted by our nation.

“People and families who find themselves in this tough position must be protected in a more effective way by our government. Until then Ireland can’t claim to have fully civilised society,” the enigmatic front-man said, adding that “doing our small part in Monroe’s will be an honour for us as a band. I genuinely view the people involved in running organisations like Focus Ireland as real life heroes. To dedicate your life to righting a wrong is probably the most admirable thing you can do with your time in this world.”

Rock Against Homelessness in aid of Focus Ireland and COPE Galway on November 23 at Monroe’s in Galway: Brave Giant and State Lights. Tickets have almost sold out but there are still some available via Ticketmaster.

Read more: ‘I lost my mum when I was seven – it’s hard to do it justice’ – Longford band Brave Giant on personal tragedies captured in debut album

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