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COVIDAID IRELAND Launch Charity Single to support Age Action and the Hardship Fund

Published 22/04/2020

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A unique new charity musical project, COVIDAID IRELAND has been launched, to meet the unprecedented challenge presented by the Coronavirus in Ireland.

All funds raised through the download sale of the specially recorded cover song, will go to the charity, Age Action Ireland and its Hardship Fund, which it has established with the Irish Red Cross. The funds raised will assist those most in need affected by Covid-19, in this time of national emergency. The single is available now to pre order on iTunes and GooglePlay and all other music platforms at a cost of €1.29.

The COVIDAID IRELAND project has been aided by a team of singers & musicians who have given of their time, in this period of emergency, both national and global. Singer Gemma Goodey delivers the beautiful main female vocal, supported by vocals from Noah Byrne, Robyn Byrne, Emma Burke, Isla Burke, Eoin Burke, Niamh Grant, Moya Grant, Méabha Lynch, Veronica Ricketts, Lauryn Rix and Aoibhe Smyth. 

The guitarist on the song is Kyle Tyther. Along with Gemma, the pair are an eclectic two piece based on the west of Kerry, going by the name of FoxTales**.

Originally recorded by Mike Oldfield in 1975, ‘On Horseback,  has been re-imagined musically and specifically chosen as an inspirational, timeless composition. This version has an Irish infusion, aimed at promoting solidarity across the generations. 

At a time when coming together means staying apart, the call to help in any way we can has never been higher in people’s minds. COVIDAID Ireland was devised by Irish journalist, Fergal Bowers, who provides the spoken word on the song, along with Irishman Gary Grant (who has produced the track) and now based in Canada. Fergal collaborated with Gary to create this magical virtual coming together of musicians and singers from all four corners of Ireland using social distancing measures, while he is under lockdown in Toronto. Gary felt strongly he wanted to do something to help those at home in Ireland, his own mother falls into the vulnerable category. Doing what Gary does best, ‘On Horseback’ is a fitting tribute to those older people currently cocooning by speaking of freedom and hope and a time again when people can look forward to fully enjoying and treasuring the outdoors, appreciating the simple things in life, nature, each other and togetherness.

Gary Grant is a producer and composer, his music can be heard across platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, Showtime, Natural Geographic. He has worked with many Hollywood film composers, most recently with Christopher Young. As a percussionist, Gary has performed extensively, including two years on Broadway with Riverdance.

The main sponsor for the project is Uniflu. In sponsoring the COVIDAID IRELAND project, Uniflu have covered all the project costs thus enabling all funds generated from the download of the song to go directly to the beneficiary charity. Sarah Jayne Brady from Uniflu said: “We are thrilled to support this fantastic initiative. We are working hard to ensure continuity of supply across all our products, enabling access to these medicines through your local pharmacy. We are extremely proud to support COVIDAID Ireland and play our part in this unique movement that will undoubtedly bring people closer together. During these unprecedented times, it is so important to protect and look after those who are most vulnerable within our community.” 

The initiative is also being supported by the Irish Pharmacy Union, with community pharmacies promoting the song via information posters. Community pharmacies are providing a vital link during the Covid-19 crisis to vulnerable groups in the community, supplying medicines and providing other supports.

The funds raised through the sale of the song are going to Age Action Ireland and the Covid-19 Hardship Fund, set up with the Irish Red Cross. 

Paddy Connolly, Chief Executive of Age Action Ireland said: “Age Action is extremely grateful to benefit from this unique charity music project that aims to assist older people who are struggling to meet the costs associated with cocooning and social distancing.  All funds raised will go towards our COVID-19 Hardship Fund, launched in partnership with the Irish Red Cross. There has been an overwhelming demand for financial support so far with over 1,000 applications being processed from older people experiencing real difficulty to meet the increased costs associated with cocooning.  We continue to receive new applications and enquiries every day which shows the hardship that older people are experiencing with increased bills, fuel poverty and supports to minimise social isolation.  Age Action needs to raise at least €250,000 to be able meet current need so we hope that the public will get behind COVIDAID Ireland, download the song or donate at the COVIDAID Ireland GoFundMe page today to help us help older people in vulnerable situations.’

Darragh O’Loughlin, Chief Executive, of the Irish Pharmacy Union said: “We are delighted to be involved with this excellent initiative. Pharmacies across the country remain open during this crisis and are working tirelessly to support people. Pharmacies around the country are seeing first-hand the very difficult situation many people are finding themselves in as a result of Covid-19, so the IPU is very happy to help by publicising COVIDAID IRELAND through our nationwide network of pharmacies.”

Businesses and individuals can also contribute to the project and details on how to do so are on the official website also.

More details are available about the unique charity project on the official website www.covidaidireland.ie

The project has the official hashtag title of #COVIDAIDIRELAND

Facebook – @CovidAidIreland
Instagram – covidaidireland
Twitter – @covidaidireland

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Input into the Nursing Home Expert Panel on perspectives and experiences in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic

(17 June) The Alliance of Age Sector NGOs, represented by Age Action, is meeting with the Nursing Home Expert Panel to communicate perspectives and experiences in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on nursing homes, with a particular focus on planning the further responses to nursing homes’ needs over the next 18 months.  National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), chaired by the Government’s Chief Medical Officer, was established in January. It has been providing direction, guidance, support and expert advice on the development and implementation of Ireland’s strategic response to the pandemic. The Panel is due to report to the Minister for Health by end June 2020 and is has undertaken a public consultation details of which are available here.