Harmony in the House as TDs eye up Christmas No 1 spot


THEY MAY not always be top of the pops with the public, but a cross-party collection of TDs and Senators are set to nab the Christmas number one spot in Ireland this year with a song to promote suicide awareness.

A stellar cast, assembled by first-time deputy Derek Keating of Fine Gael, is gathering in a Dublin recording studio today to lay down their special version of Bridge Over Troubled Water,and shoot a video to go with it.

Eighteen politicians have signed up for singing duty – leading the way will be Ministers Joan Burton and Simon Coveney. The group will be joined by the combined forces of the Dublin Gospel Choir and LGS – a gospel choir from Lucan.

This is a fully professional production, with Jim Sheridan, the musical director of the Late Late Showoverseeing the project. The company Noel Recruitment has agreed to become the main sponsor.

Dublin Mid West TD Keating is executive producer, along with businessman Dave Kearney. They have been planning the recording since early summer and it has been one of the best-kept secrets in Leinster House.

Derek Keating is a director of the Pieta House organisation, which is based in Dublin but has outreach centres around the country. “My intention is to promote suicide awareness and raise much-needed funds for Pieta House in the process. The suicide figures here are frightening and we still don’t have conclusive numbers. People need to know we care and that there is support available for them,” he said yesterday.

A full rehearsal took place in the Leinster House AV Room on Monday morning. “It went far better than anyone envisioned. It’s going to be absolutely powerful. I can’t wait to hear the final result.” Keating and his Dáil assistant, Tommy Morris, made sure to put together a strong team of singers from both and Dáil and Seanad and from all parties and the Independents. “I think when people listen to the song, they’ll be very surprised. All concerned have worked really hard to get it right,” said Morris.

People will be pleasantly surprised by the singing skills of some of their elected representatives. They won’t be hiding in the chorus either – they all make solo contributions.

Along with the two singing senior Ministers will be junior ministers Michael Ring and Lucinda Creighton (who, we hear, has a lovely voice); Independent TD Mick Wallace; Fine Gael deputies Regina Doherty, Frank Feighan, Tony McLaughlin, Terence Flanagan and Peter Mathews. Not surprisingly, Mathews is a mellow baritone.

Another accomplished singer is Sinn Féin’s Pádraig Mac Lochlainn. Fianna Fáil deputy Robert Troy is joined by his Seanad colleague, Averil Power. Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins is also onboard, along with Independent Senator Eamonn Coghlan.

Two deputies complete the trio for the Dáil Technical Group. Seasoned performer Finian McGrath will do his bit but, perhaps more surprisingly, Deputy Stephen Donnelly has also signed up to sing.

“I would really like to thank everyone who has taken part and we hope that when the song is released, they will take every opportunity to spread the message of Pieta House,” says Keating, who will be singing and playing the guitar.

Everyone’s hope is to bag the Christmas number one. The song and video should be available shortly for download through a number of platforms, including iTunes.

Given the cause, and the quality of the end product, they should get their wish, and Pieta House will get a much deserved boost in the process.