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Irish Stars Unite for Omagh Aid Album

Buncrana boy's poem to feature on track
The Belfast Telegraph
Liam Neeson recites a moving poem written by one of the children killed in the Omagh bomb outrage.

The Ballymena-born actor is among a host of world-famous Irish acts who will be appearing on a special star-studded album in aid of the Omagh Memorial Fund.

Across the Bridge of Hope will feature music from U2, Van Morrison, Ash, Sinead O'Connor, Boyzone, the Divine Comedy, Enya, Paul Brady and Juliet O'Connor, who have all donated their services free.

The album takes its title from the poem written by 12-year-old Buncrana boy Sean McLoughlin shortly before he was killed in the Omagh atrocity.

The album has been co-ordinated by Northern Irish music industry figures Ross Graham and Tim Hegarty.

Mr. Ross explained: "After the bombing in Omagh I got a call from Tim suggesting that something should be done in tribute to the people of Omagh.

"I've been working in the music industry for about 20 years so I decided to phone round contacts to see what could be done.""Everybody was so supportive that we began to have the seeds of the project very quickly. "One of the featured tracks on the album is Sean's poem, which has been recorded in New York as a reading by Ballymena actor Liam Neeson.

He was also asked, at Seamus Heaney's request, to record the Nobel laureate's "The Cure At Troy."

Ross added: "We approached Seamus Heaney, who is one of the finest poets in Ireland, to ask him if he would like to donate material for the album and he was more than happy to offer us 'The Cure At Troy.'

"We asked him if he would record a reading for the album, but he proposed that Liam Neeson do it. Liam readily agreed to take part and the track was recorded in New York exclusively for the album." U2 have donated the track "Please," which was written originally as a plea to the people of Northern Ireland to try to find a resolution to the Troubles.

The Corrs have donated their top selling single "What Can I Do?," while Downpatrick's Ash have added the song "I'm Gonna Fall" from their latest album Nu-Clear Sounds.

Van Morrison has donated a version of "The Healing Game," which features Paddy Moloney, Brian Kennedy and Phil Coulter.

Boyzone will feature on the album singing their hit single "Words" while Paul Brady has offered a recording of "The Island."

The Divine Comedy have taken the track "Sunrise" the only song that Neil Hannon has ever written about the Troubles from their latest album, while Enya has made a recording of the Christmas carol "Silent Night" and Juliet Turner has recorded the track "Broken Things."

A song which may well be released as a single is a recording of the ABBA hit "Chiquitita," sung by Sinead O' Connor.

All the artists involved offered their services free and proceeds will be donated to the Omagh Memorial Fund, including royalites.

The full content of the album will be finalized on Monday and all the production work will be done in Northern Ireland.

Across the Bridge of Hope will be released on November 30.

© 1998 Belfast Telegraph. All rights reserved.