‘Friend of West Belfast’ Damien Dempsey performs sold-out concert as part of grassroots community health and well-being festival
Féile na gCloigíní Gorma concert in St Comgalls ‘crucial to connecting people to place and building community solidarity and well-being’ highlights mental health crisis in the north in support of new campaign
Féile na gCloigíní Gorma 2023, a local festival based in West Belfast and named after the indigenous bluebells that bloom each May on the Black Mountain, hosted a sold-out concert in the new St Comgalls building last night (18-5-23) with the world renowned Irish balladeer Damien Dempsey. The festival, which is in its seventh year, one week into its 9 day schedule and is a result of a longstanding, collaborative effort between a range of local community organisations in Upper Springfield.
Speaking on last night’s concert, one of the Festival organisers, Eoghan Ó Garmaile, stated:
“We are delighted that the great Damien Dempsey headlined our annual Féile na gCloigíní Gorma concert last night which was sold out. This was the first concert in the new state of the art St Comgalls venue on the Falls Road. Damien has always been a huge supporter of the West Belfast community and a grassroots festival that aims to promote positive mental health is close to his own heart. Our annual gig also gave a platform to brilliant local musicians like Breandan ‘Nipper’ Quinn, John McSherry and Francis McElduff, Niamh Nic Ionnrachtaigh and Run For Cover. The concert aims to utilise the arts to raise people’s spirits during a very challenging cost of living crisis which is being exacerbated by crippling government cuts that are forcing working class communities to choose between heating their homes or putting food on the table. While we endeavour to celebrate a sense of community, solidarity, and well-being through this concert, we are also delighted to collaborate with and support grassroots community campaigns such at the Participation and Practice Rights ‘New Script for Mental Health’ who we profiled at last night’s gig.’
Speaking on behalf of ‘New Script’ campaign, PPR Mental Health campaign organiser, Sara Boyce stated:
‘As a grassroots campaign, New Script is a ground-breaking, people powered approach to mental health. It’s about flipping the script, away from supposed chemical imbalances in individuals’ brains and highlighting the power imbalances in society. Flipping the script, away from asking what’s wrong with you, to asking what’s happened to you. We are collectively developing grassroots, trauma-informed responses to emotional distress. We are delighted to partner with the Féile na gCloigíní Gorma festival to build awareness on our growing campaign. Last night was a resounding success and we would like to thank Damien Dempsey for his welcome support. For further info on the campaign, see www.nlb.ie/campaigns/mental-health.’
In lending his support to the Féile na gCloiginí Gorma festival and the New Script campaign, Damien Dempsey said:
‘I’ve been following the Féile na gCloigíni Gorma festival for a few years and always wanted to get up to support it. It’s inspiring to see working class communities organising themselves in such a positive way having suffered so much during the recent conflict. The idea of connecting people to nature and building community solidarity and well-being is crucial for building hope and resilience. It’s also great to see the ‘New Script’ campaign building momentum and spreading awareness through last night’s concert which had a fantastic atmosphere. Working class communities need support, resources and understanding rather than damaging labels. It’s time for a new way forward and this Féile is showing another way is possible
A Full copy of the programme is available:
Le haghaidh tuilleadh eolais / For more information:
Eoghan Ó Garmaile
On New Script campaign:
Glór na Móna are one of the organisations involved in the Festival. About us:
Glór na Móna is the key Irish language organization that works to promote the Irish language and the life of Irish people in Uachtar Cluannaí and the surrounding areas. It is an organization that strongly believes in partnering with different groups in the area to extend ownership of the Irish language as far as possible. The group was created to meet the needs of the Irish-speaking community. Glór na Móna works on two levels, promoting the Irish language during our cultural events and developing services for the Irish-speaking community.
Owning the language is a source of pride in the community, it promotes social and economic life and this creates new ways to discuss old problems such as long-term and intergenerational unemployment and lack of intergenerational skills
The Pariticipation and Practice of Rights (PPR) are launching the mental health campaign. About us:
Participation and the Practice of Rights (PPR) is a small human rights NGO with a big vision: to turn international human rights standards into grassroots tools for economic, social and environmental change.
From a small pilot project founded by Inez McCormack in Belfast and Dublin in 2006, PPR now works with a growing network of communities across Ireland using human rights as tools for change. Each of these campaigns are supported by community and voluntary groups, politicians, activist networks and funders. We collaborate with partners in Scotland, South Africa, USA, England and elsewhere to exchange learning and expertise.