CD to fund autism therapies

Charity Laois musicians band together to raise money for LOFFA

CD to fund autism therapies
By Lynda Kiernan

A CD in aid of Laois Offaly Families for Autism is now on sale through the charity, with the chorus sung by children who have autism.

The CD is the work of Laois singer songwriter Joe ‘De Brún’ Brown, who wrote the song especially to raise money for the charity.

The folk ballad tells the story of a modern day immigrant taxi driver in Dublin who takes on a passenger only to discover it is the ghost of Padraig Pearse.

LOFFA is a charity that supports about 350 families of children and adults across Laois and Offaly who are on the autism spectrum.

Last February about 15 of those children, and half a dozen Cub Scouts, took part in the recording of ‘Mise Eire Mór mo Glór’.

Some had to overcome many obstacles to do so, as parent Katie Reidy explains.

“They had to learn the tune and the words and how to pronounce them, which was very difficult for some of them. It took them a week or two to learn it, and then they did a lot of preparation work before recording it, getting used to a studio and wearing headphones,” she said.

Laois recording studio Golden Egg gave their facilities at no charge, also designing the cover and printing 1,000 copies.

Musicians joining with Joe include Aine Fingleton on whistle, Joe Byrne on uilleann pipes and Pat Reddin on accordian, with music engineer Owen Geaney.

“It hasn’t cost LOFFA anything to produce the CD. Everything raised will go to children with autism,” explained Ms Reidy, who thanked the musicians and the studio, as well as Willie Kerry for supporting their recent launch of the CD, and Tesco who gave space for the group to sell the CD in Portlaoise last Saturday.

Ms Reidy is in no doubt of the important support she has been given by LOFFA.

Her son aged 9, a student of St Francis School, has received subsidies from LOFFA towards the cost of private therapies for the past five years, filling a gap left by the HSE’s long waiting lists.

“He was diagnosed with autism when he was two, and put on a two to three year waiting list for therapies . He is nine now and has only got seven therapy sessions from the HSE. Without LOFFA’s help, he wouldn’t be where he is today. He would never even play with his toys,” she said.

The charity hold family play dates and art groups, and also monthly support meetings for families. The next meeting is tonight, Tuesday, at 7.30pm in the Heritage Hotel Portlaoise. See Laois Offaly Families for Autism on facebook, or