The "Seize the Day" PREDA concert certainly lived up to its billing with Damien delivering a powerful and inspiring night while raising 4730 euro to help children trapped in adult prisons and in child prostitution.
His commitment to social justice is inspiring and he dedicated "Not on your own" to all the children suffering in the Philippines. The crowd soaked up the atmosphere and he treated them to almost two hours of raw passion mixed in with stories and his sharp Dublin wit.
It could be deemed "good karma" that on the night of his Galway gig a new home me for boys freed from adult prisons was opened by PREDA in Olongapo, north of Manila. Fr. Shay Cullen, multiple Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Meteor Humanitarian of the year for 2009 winner, made contact with Damien to thank him for raising awareness and much needed funds for the children. It costs 60 Euro to pay for the legal fees to free a child in prison so the money raised will go directly to meet their needs and to help continue the work that PREDA has started.
Damien was introduced by a member of PREDA Galway who said, "It has been said that you should never meet your heroes as you will only be disappointed. Whoever said that obviously never met Damien Dempsey!"
By the end of the night after the crowd sang along to every song they all left knowing that their hero had made a difference on a bigger scale than usual.
Damien kindly donated some tee shirts and a unique portrait of himself painted by a friend of his who is an artist to the children at PREDA. The painting will be shipped to the Philippines and will receive pride of place in the main music hall of the education centre. Music is like a religion in the Philippines so for the children receive support from such an inspirational singer helps keeps them all "Fighting the Good Fight".
PREDA Galway, Gogogo productions and the Post Leaving Cert. Event Management team from Galway Community College would like to thank Damien, Fiacre Gaffney, Gerry McDonald and Sean Regan and the team at Spirit Music & Media for making the magic happen and for such a passionate, powerful and evocative night.
The struggle continues but with Damo in your corner its a fight that can be won.
BY PHILIP CRIBBIN, PREDA GALWAY
Photo by Russell Barnes (www.russellbphoto.com)