Glen Hansard calls for housing division as Christmas Eve charity bus returns

Dermot Kennedy, Glen Hansard and Imelda May were among the famous Irish musicians who gathered in downtown Dublin as the Christmas Eve bus returned for the first time in two years.

The show featured Roisin O, Gavin James, The Coronas, Liam O Maonlai, The Pale, and Loah, who took part in a varied performance that lasted more than two hours.

“Thank you everyone for the first Christmas back in a few years,” Hansard, head of The Frames, told the hundreds of people who had gathered outside the Gaiety Theatre, located near bustling Grafton Street.

He dedicated Take Heart to people who are looking for a place to stay for Christmas Eve and to the people of Ukraine.

“We need to open our arms, we need to open our hearts to those who need us,” he said, adding that there should be no division between homeless people and asylum seekers.

“They shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.”

Near to

Loah participates in the annual Christmas Eve carnival on Grafton Street, Dublin (Lorrane O’Sullivan/PA)

Two Ukrainian singers, Ana and Alex, joined Hansard, and the song was followed by a Ukrainian carol.

Hansard and Imelda May performed Fairytale Of New York, in which May thanked those who “put their hands in their pockets” to raise money for the homeless.

Singer Loah performed Joni Mitchell’s River and Thin Lizzy’s Dancing In The Moonlight, dedicated to those forced to sleep on the streets.

The finale featured all the musicians on stage and a range of songs including Bob Dylan’s Forever Young, Little Drummer Boy and The Old Triangle.

Several Simon Community volunteers stood at the edge of the crowd with buckets, encouraging people to donate.

In what began as an impromptu music session in 2010, the Christmas Eve busker has become a high-octane festive tradition in the capital.

Video of the day

Due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, this is the first time it has returned to Grafton Street in two years.

Last year, artists gathered at St Patrick’s Cathedral for a streamed music event – a feature that was made available back this year.

The crisis comes after four months in a row the number of officially homeless people hit a record high amid soaring rent costs and unsuitable housing prices for many workers.

Government October figures show 11,397 people were recorded as homeless across Ireland, including 3,480 children. Glen Hansard calls for housing division as Christmas Eve charity bus returns

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