18 February 1999 Edition

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Band on the run

West Belfast's Eire Nua Flute band who are off to America for St Patrick's Day are holding a pre-tour fundraiser in the Trinity Lodge in Turf Lodge this Friday 19 February.

And according to Cara, one of the band's veterans, ``we have done a lot of work to make this trip (from 12 to 19 March) happen and we are really looking forward to it, especially as there are young people in the band who may never get a chance like this again. It is the chance of a lifetime''.

Cara said that the band wanted to thank the community in West Belfast who donated so much and contributed to ballots and collection. ``Without their generosity we wouldn't have been able to go''.

The band will play at the St Patrick's Day parade in Cleveland, Ohio and that night will perform at a function for the AOH in Cleveland and will play in three other major cities, Detroit, Michigan and Pittsburgh.

Speaking about the band Cara said, ``we have young ones as young as 14 in it and the band gives them as sense of community especially with the pressure our communities have come through over the past years of conflict. Over the last couple of months the members have shown a great commitment to the trip spending hours and hours practising and of course raising the money. We also raised money for new equipment and uniforms, we had to look our best''.

Cara expressed the band's thanks to US politician Pat O'Malley from Cleveland who has worked with them to organise the trip. Pat, a long time supporter of Irish freedom, has been to Belfast on many occasions and invited the band over. ``He has done so much for us and we couldn't thank him enough,'' said Cara.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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