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Singer Declan Nerney reveals pride in watching niece Una Healy on stage

As Una’s uncle and godfather, Declan remembers how she would sing for him as a child — and he’d give her one pound as a prize!

Una found stardom with The Saturdays but she’s been writing songs since her teens

Una Healy with Declan Nerney at the Marquee in Longford

Una Healy with Declan Nerney at the Marquee in Longford

Eddie RowleySunday World

Sitting in the audience watching pop supergroup The Saturdays strutting their stuff on stage, singer Declan Nerney was bursting with pride.

His eyes were focused on the stunning brunette singer Una Healy as she dazzled the audience with her singing and slick dance moves in the all-girl supergroup.

As Una’s uncle and godfather, Declan remembers how she would sing for him as a child — and he’d give her one pound as a prize!

Telling his life story on the sundayworld.com podcast, My Country Life, Declan reveals that Tipperary-born Una and her family would spend Christmas at the Nerney family home in Drumlish, Co. Longford.

Una Healy with Declan Nerney at the Marquee in Longford

The Marquee In Drumlish singer recalls how he would then get the children, including Una, to sing for him.

“In those Christmas times I would be going off to play and they would be waiting for a couple of pound to come around,” Declan laughs.

“The best way I used to do it was to have a singing competition with them all and I’d say, ‘I’ll give a pound now to the winner.’ Then at the end I’d tell them, ‘It’s very hard to distinguish who was the best. The best thing I can do is, you’re all winners, you’ll all get a pound.’ So they were happy then.”

And when Una began writing songs as a teen she would sing them for him.

“She always had a little flair for writing songs and creating stuff of her own,” he remembers. “In her repertoire of songs that she has written there are a couple of great songs that she hasn’t released yet.”

Una previously told that she was very proud of her uncle and godfather and loved going to see him singing in dance halls when she was growing up, or watching him perform on TV shows such as Live at 3 and The Late Late Show.

Una Healy with Declan Nerney at the Marquee in Longford

“You’d be on TV every few weeks back then,” he says. “One of the biggest highlights of my life and one of the most emotional moments I think that I’ve ever had is me and her [Una] performing on The Late Late.

"Coming from humble beginnings to be able to come out there on the most prestigious show in Ireland was fabulous.”

While doing his Leaving Cert, Declan joined a band called Gerry Reynolds & The Hi-Lows. He remembers playing The Arcadia ballroom in Cork the night before his Leaving Cert Maths exam.

“I had very understanding parents that put up with that,” he says.

For the next 14 years, Declan toured as a guitarist with Gene Stuart and Brian Coll, both now deceased. In the late 1980s he launched his own band as the country scene started to boom again.

  • Listen to the My Country Life with Eddie Rowley podcast on sundayworld.com or wherever you get your podcasts.


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