Annual Black Santa appeal launched in Dublin

The popular annual fundraiser has generated more than €700k for charities

Emily Breslin, a student at Alexandra College plays the harp as Fred Dean and Terry Lilburn from St Ann’s Church on Dawson Street launch their 2021 annual Black Santa Appeal for charities in Dublin. Photograph: Damien Eagers for The Irish Times

Emily Breslin, a student at Alexandra College plays the harp as Fred Dean and Terry Lilburn from St Ann’s Church on Dawson Street launch their 2021 annual Black Santa Appeal for charities in Dublin. Photograph: Damien Eagers for The Irish Times

 

The girls of the Alexandra choir were singing Silent Night as the Luas was pinging out on Dawson St. They were handsome, they were pretty, Queens of Dublin city, but the wind would go right through you.

It was no place for the old, unless you are Black Santa and wearing a long, heavy, black coat while collecting offerings from passersby outside St Ann’s church between now and Christmas Eve. This year the Black Santa role falls to St Ann’s caretaker Fred Deane, assisted by volunteers.

Yes, it is that time of year again when the Lord Mayor, the Archbishop and a man (for now!) in black gather outside St Ann’s on Dawson St to launch one of Dublin’s most popular annual Christmas charity events.

Since his first appearance outside St Ann’s 20 years ago, Black Santa has raised over €700,000 for the Simon Community,the Peter McVerry Trust, Protestant Aid, Barnardo’s, St Vincent De Paul, the Laura Lynn Foundation and the Salvation Army.

Lord Mayor of Dublin Alison Gilliland and Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Michael Jackson formally launched the appeal on Tuesday as the transition year girls from Alexandra College, suitably distanced, sang carols in the fresh air, accompanied on a harp. “It is NOT a wind instrument!” it was pointed out.

There too was Energia head of corporate affairs Derek Scully with a €10,000 donation on behalf the company’s 920 employees in lieu of their Christmas party, cancelled this year because of Omicron. They are making a similar donation to the Black Santa appeal in Belfast.

Expressing his gratitude to Mr Scully and the company’s staff, Archbishop Jackson also thanked them “for spotting that the Church of Ireland was an all-Ireland church with a corresponding Black Santa appeal taking place in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.”