Christy Moore is to keep a promise made to bricklayer Philip McTaggart and make his debut at the Grand Opera House in Belfast, to sing at a special concert to raise funds for the Public Initiative for the Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm — Pips.
The concert will take place on November 21 and tickets go on sale on September 10, World Prevention of Suicide Day, at a ceremony in the city chaired by the deputy Lord Mayor Don Brown.
It was after a meeting between Father Aidan Troy of Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church in Ardoyne and Christy at Console, the suicide awareness group in Dublin, the ballad singer made his commitment to Mr McTaggart, a founder of Pips.
Christy learned how in 2003, after his own 17-year-old son Philip junior — nickname Pip — had taken his life, Mr McTaggart was integral in establishing the suicide prevention organisation.
“My life was going along in a straight line then that day in 2003 I found myself having to make a complete right turn,” Mr McTaggart said about his son’s death.
“Suicide is everyone's business. Somewhere on this island three people kill themselves every day. Pips is grateful to Christy, an artist who knows about the depths of depression in his own life, for giving us this support.
“His presence at the Opera House — especially as it will be his first time there — will bring great awareness to what Pips is trying to do. We hear a lot in the media about the victims of suicide, we need to hear more about those whose lives have been saved.”
On World Suicide Day, with support of £5,000 from the Ulster Bank, the Pips Lifeguard Training in Suicide Prevention scheme is being set up to prepare volunteers in the skills of saving troubled lives.
Christy — the star who had a hit singing about a shovel — has talked in his time about his battle with drink and drugs.