Musician Gerry O’Connor has presented a cheque for €2,500 to Newry man Tommy Fegan, Chairman, CRY, a charity that raises awareness of the condition known as Sudden Cardiac Death or Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) and provides counselling and support.

This was the proceeds from the O’Connor family Homecoming for CRY Irish traditional music show at the Táin Centre, Dundalk in December. The charity supports families who have lost a child to Sudden Cardiac Death or Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.

The O’Connors, who played a lead role in the 2018 All Ireland Fleadh Cheoil in Drogheda, have offered their help to the Charity’s efforts to raise €880,000 for their new All Island Cardiac Risk in the Young Centre, due to open in May, 2019.

Tommy Fegan and Gerry O'Connor at Faughart. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Tommy Fegan and Gerry O'Connor at Faughart. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Bardic Award winner Gerry was joined by family members celebrating the fiddle music learned from his mother, Rose, and the songs created and sung by the late Eithne Ní Uallacháin, mother of Dónal, Siúbhan, Féilimí and Finnian. Eilish O'Connor, Peter O'Connor Gráinne Smith and Síle O'Connor completed the lineup  to a sell-out audience.

Gerry explained his family’s support for CRY (Ireland); “I have known Tommy Fegan, recently appointed Chairman of CRY (Ireland) since the 1970’s, meeting first at sessions in the famous Dundalk's Mark's Bar and we have worked together in the Thomas D'arcy Magee Foundation. I was shocked and saddened at the sudden death of his son, Kevin, in 2010. Tommy asked me to play Úr Chnoic Céin Mhic Cáinte at Kevin’s funeral. So when he initiated a campaign to raise awareness and funds for CRY, my family readily agreed to dedicate the  traditional Homecoming Christmas concert to this great charity.

The O’Connor Homecoming concerts affords the opportunity to returning exiles for Louth, Monaghan, Down and Armagh and other border communities to meet up with old friends in a musical, convivial setting between Christmas and the New Year

“We are always conscious that many families have an empty chair of a deceased relative at Christmas, so this year we dedicated the concert and session to those families where a young person has died suddenly  through Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS)”, concluded Gerry.

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