Charity attacked over army band concert

JOHNSTOWN-based children’s charity, the Jack and Jill foundation has been the subject of internet abuse over a musical event involving a band associated with the British Army.

JOHNSTOWN-based children’s charity, the Jack and Jill foundation has been the subject of internet abuse over a musical event involving a band associated with the British Army.

The Jack & Jill Foundation provides home respite to families with children up to the age of 4, with severe neurological developmental delay and non oncology palliative conditions requiring extensive medical and nursing care at home.

It needs to raise over E3m annually.

It was organised by the security and Emergency Services Ireland Forum (SESIF), a cross-border body seeking to enhance support and respect for all emergency services in Ireland and Northern Ireland.

“One of the projects is for the band to perform publicly as apar of the rapprochement process and I was flattered that they approached us to help. Naturally there will be some people who would welcome a band associated with a different army but would feel ill at ease with a band with a link to the British Army,” Jonathan Irwin of Jack and Jill told the Leader.

He added: “However I am a pacifist and whether we like it or not the Irish Guards have a reputation as one of the finest regiments anywhere in the world. Most people believe in freedom of speech and I get distressed when when Jack and Jill is attacked.”

He revealed he had been abused and was the subject of nasty telephone calls “all day and night”.

He added his telephone numnber was posted on the internet.

“I wish this energy was used to help raise money for sick children in my own country but instead I’m left wondering at the nature of people who would attack a childrens charity.”

He said tickets for the event cost E40 and the event will not make a fortune for the charity.

He said Jack and Jill is struggling to raise money in the current economic conditions and hand has had to cut back on the hours spent with children.

“We have come up with new ideas; we don’t go into the street with buckets and we try to avoid looking people in the eye and asking for money.”

“I’m sad that there is still so much bitterness around and I don’t think it should be targeted at children.”

At least some of the attacks originated from members of Eirígí, which describes itself as an Irish, socialist republican, political party “committed to ending the British occupation of the Six Counties and the establishment of a thirty-two county Irish Democratic Socialist Republic.”

The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundationprovides direct funding, to families of children with brain damage who suffer severe intellectual and physical developmental delay, enabling them to purchase home respite care. These are children who as a result of their condition require intensive home nursing care. The Jack & Jilcondition require intensive home nursing care.

- Paul O’Meara