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13th Feb 2022

Charlie Bird to use voice bank for the first time in public for Stardust vigil

The vigil takes place later today.

Broadcaster Charlie Bird will use his new voice bank for the first in public at a vigil commemorating the victims of the Stardust nightclub tragedy.

Bird, who has largely lost his voice due to Motor Neurone Disease, has cloned his voice, allowing him to communicate through a voice bank.

Today will see him put the technology to use in public for the first time at a candlelight vigil, honouring the 48 people who died in the Stardust fire on 14 February in Artane in 1981.

Taking to Twitter on Friday evening, Charlie said: “My voice is getting weaker each day. So it is difficult for some people to understand me.

“This Sunday I have been invited by the Stardust relatives to say a few words to mark the 41st anniversary of that awful night. So for the first time I’m going to use my voice bank in public.”

Charlie was subsequently met with support.

Irish cervical cancer campaigner Vicky Phelan wrote: “Charlie, your presence alone is what matters. You are Charlie Bird, voice or no voice.”

Another supporter wrote: “I’m thrilled your voice banking is working for you, cannot wait to hear you, esp. as a Speech and Language Therapist! Love to hear of advances in tech for you and other folks who will benefit from communication progress.”

A third wrote: “Just because you may not be able to speak, does not mean you have nothing to say. This is just about us listening differently.”

Charlie first revealed that he had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease last year, and has been sharing his experience with the condition ever since.

This March, he plans on climbing Croagh Patrick in aid of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association and Pieta House, two charities he says that are very close to his heart.