Mary Coughlan was listening to the radio when she heard Anne O'Rourke, founder of TIAFI, an organisation dedicated to helping vulnerable women and children across Turkey and Syria. "I heard Anne on the news a week after the earthquake. She is from Waterford, and she has been living and working in a refugee camp on the Turkish Syrian border for years. Following the earthquake, she had an influx of about 26,000 people looking for help, some of whom had lost every member of their family.
"One woman turned up with a four day old baby. She was barely dressed and had no milk or anything for the child. So I heard this on the radio and I was in an awful state. I just felt I had to try and help somehow." Mary got in touch with O'Rourke and discussed with her how she could help to raise money for TIAFI. That's when she decided on a gig. "I contacted the guys at the Roisin Dubh and we managed to book Leisureland on Saturday February 25." Coughlan, currently juggling gigs across the country and preparations for her upcoming tour in Australia and New Zealand, is an unstoppable force. It's not the first time she has organised a concert in aide of a humanitarian cause. In 2015, she held a relief night for Médecins Sans Frontières in Dublin after seeing pictures and stories emerging from the European migrant crisis.
The Big Gig this Saturday promises a glorious lineup of Irish favourites - as well as Mary, performers will include Kila, Liam O'Maonlai & friends, Tracy Bruen, Ultan Conlon, Susan O'Neill, Frances Black and Mundy. Hector will MC the night. Anne O'Rourke's husband, Tom, who is back in Ireland with his son for a visit, will come from Waterford to say a few words at the event. "I'm really looking forward to meeting him and hearing him speak about what TIAFI are doing to help, on behalf of Anne as well," says Mary.
TIAFI do a huge amount of work to help vulnerable Turkish and Syrian people in many different areas of their lives.
Find out more about the organisation here: www.tiafi.org/ The Big Gig is on this Saturday February 25. Doors are at 7pm. Tickets are €40. There'll be plenty of raffle prizes to be won on the night, as well as all the musical greats to enjoy!
Get your tickets here: www.roisindubh.net/listings/the-big-gig-2023-02-25-190000-78022