A WEST Cork-based singer, whose latest single highlights the current housing crisis in Ireland, is thinking of moving abroad to France as he cannot find any affordable accommodation in the area.
Martin Leahy, who is a member of well-known trad band, North Cregg, has been living in Ballinadee for the past six years.
However, he needs to secure new accommodation by the end of June but is finding it increasingly difficult to find anything suitable or affordable.
He was inspired to write and produce Everyone Should have a Home based on his own experience of the housing market. ‘I had always wanted to write about the housing issue,’ he said.
‘A lot of the energy of the song also comes from listening to talks by Maynooth academic Rory Hearne who wrote Housing Shock, Martin told The Southern Star. ‘I have been very happy living here and while I’m not tied to the area, I’d still like to stay here. But from looking around websites the prices seem outrageous and I’m looking all the time so I hope I don’t have to move.’
It was a friend of his who suggested that he should consider moving to France, which is a lot more affordable. ‘It seems easier to be a musician over there and I’m pretty serious about thinking of moving over there, the closer it comes to the date I have to move. I can’t find any space here either where I can set up my equipment.’
He said that he has renting all his life but that there are no regulations in place here compared to Europe and it’s always in the back of his mind that he’ll have to move at some stage.
‘While I want to get a home here in Ireland I am much more interested in the housing crisis being addressed properly by our government as it’s affecting thousands of people. That is the message I would like to put across most of all in my song.’
Meanwhile, he is delighted with the response to his single, which draws on the protest tradition of genres like punk, hip-hop , folk and rock.
It is accompanied by a clever video, filmed and drawn at the same time by Cork artist and musician Eileen Healy, who filmed it on her phone with one hand, while drawing with other.
‘There has been a lot of interest in the song from the media especially, which was more than I had expected, so it’s great to get the music out to a wider audience.’
All the instruments, production and recording was done by Martin and he is joined in the anthemic emotive chorus by Victoria Keating, Tim O’Riordan, Aine O’Gorman, Martin Minihane and John Neville.
Martin has been releasing music as a singer since December 2020 and his debut single ‘Song For Kirsty McColl’ received extensive airplay nationwide.
He released that single to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the popular singer’s death. She died after being hit by a powerboat while diving with her children in Mexico in 2000.
As well as singing and songwriting, Martin has also produced many albums including Cormac Ó Caoimh’s ‘Swim Crawl Walk Run’ which was very well received.
Martin has also toured around the world with North Cregg playing some of the world’s biggest music festivals including Glastonbury.