Sing Street Star Ferdia Walsh-Peelo Launches “Lovin’ Our Lungs” Nationwide Movie Competition

Rising star of the silver screen, Sing Street actor Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, today joined with RTÉ Two Tube’s  Bláthnaid Treacy and Stephen Byrne to launch a nationwide movie competition Lovin’ Our Lungs to highlight the importance of lung health for a full and active life. The awards, which are organised by the Irish Lung Health Alliance, a coalition of 17 charities, in partnership with Foróige, the national youth development organisation, are open to teenagers aged between 12 and 18 years (see This initiative is supported by GSK.

The grim reality is that lung disease accounts for almost half of all chronic illness in nine-year-olds1 and is the most common health condition in young adults aged 18 to 24 years2. Smoking is a leading cause of lung disease and research shows that almost 80 per cent of smokers start the habit before the age of 18 years3. The challenge is to bring home to young people, in a way that they can relate to, why minding their lung health is important and how to go about it.

The top prize is a ‘breathtaking’ adventure experience for the winning club or individual and their friends with Ecoadventure Ireland—a chance to experience fresh air, stunning scenery and a range of thrilling adventure activities at a choice of centres nationwide. The competition is based on a number of themes—how our lungs work, looking after our lungs, and fun lung facts. Entrants are invited to make a 90-second movie celebrating the importance of our lungs and how to look after them based on one or more of these themes, details of which can be found at, along with entry details. The campaign is supported by RTÉ’s Two Tube which will showcase the winning entry live on air on Friday May 27. The closing date for entries is Sunday May 22, 2016.

The Irish Lung Health Alliance is encouraging young people to adopt a three-step strategy when it comes to keeping lungs strong and healthy:

  1. Don’t smoke, or if you are, quit while you’re ahead
  2. Keep active by doing 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week
  3. Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, fish and omega-3 fatty acids

For Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lovin’ Our Lungs ambassador and star of the hit movie, Sing Street, his lungs are one if his most prized assets:
For me, a healthy pair of lungs means that there are no holds barred when it comes to acting out a scene or singing a ballad. I need to bring my ‘A-game’ on screen, so I make sure to look after my voice in terms of diet, hydration, and getting enough rest, but most important of all is that I don’t smoke and avoid exposing myself to smoke. Apart from irritating and drying the throat, smoking would seriously affect my lung function and with it my airflow and vocal range. Plus, while my character Cosmo in Sing Street may have had to go and set up a band to win the girl, one sure way to put off a love interest is to smoke. So I’d encourage budding film-makers out there to get rolling and show their creative genius when it comes to lovin’ our lungs.”

Dr Jacqueline Rendall is a Consultant Respiratory Physician and spokesperson for the Irish Lung Health Alliance:
“The idea behind the Lovin’ Our Lungs movie competition is to get young people thinking about their lungs—why they are important and how to keep them healthy. It’s a chance to focus on the unique and powerful features of our lungs. For example, did you know that they contain 1,500 miles of airways or that they enable us to breathe in 13 pints of air every single minute? Our lungs are integral to how our bodies work, our enjoyment of a full and active life and the prevention of illness—so it pays to look after them from a young age with three simple steps:

“Step 1: don’t smoke and add years to your life by reducing the risk of diseases such as lung cancer and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) not to mention problems with skin aging and impotence.

“Step 2: eat a healthy, balanced diet for maximum energy and a strong immune system.

“And finally, step 3: take regular exercise to keep lungs strong and healthy, as well as for general mental and physical well-being.”

Stephen Byrne, RTÉ Two Tube presenter, is excited to watch people’s ideas come to life:
“Your body is the greatest thing you’ll ever own, so you need to take care of it! Keeping yourself healthy with exercise and eating well is great for your heart and your mind, but it’s also important for your lungs. At RTÉ Two Tube, we are delighted to be involved with this initiative and I am very much looking forward to people unleashing their inner Spielberg for some really gripping viewing. I can’t wait to see what people come up with!”

Sean Campbell, CEO, Foróige comments:
“Foróige is delighted to be working with the Irish Lung Health Alliance in highlighting the importance of looking after lung health among our members, and indeed young people in general. Given how common lung disease is among young people, this is an initiative that we are very keen to support. We are asking people to get inventive and to get out their camera phones and direct some original, engaging and inspiring movies on lung health and how to best look after our lungs. With amazing prizes to be won, what’s not to love about Lovin’ Our Lungs?”

Top Five Amazing Lung Facts:

1.      The total surface area of the alveoli—the tiny air sacs in our lungs—is the size of a tennis court

2.      The average size of lungs is seven to eight litres, the equivalent of four, two-litre bottles of soda

3.      The lungs are the only organ in the body that can float on water

4.      Lungs are the largest and only internal organ exposed to the external environment

5.      At rest we breathe in about 14-16 times a minute or approximately 22,000 times a day, while new babies breathe between 40 and 50 times a minute

 Issued on behalf of the Irish Lung Health Alliance by: Don Delaney, director, d2 communications. Tel.: 087 7933249/


  1. Growing Up in Ireland—the Lives of 9-Year-Olds, Main Report, National Longitudinal Study of Children, 2009
  2. Quarterly National Household Survey, Quarter 3 2010
  3. Children, Youth and Tobacco: Behaviour, Perceptions and Attitudes, Office for Tobacco Control, November 2006

About the Irish Lung Health Alliance

The Irish Lung Health Alliance is a coalition of 17 Irish charities that have joined forces to promote healthy lungs. Lung disease incorporates a range of diseases and conditions such as asthma, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, sleep apnoea, lung fibrosis, sarcoidosis, alpha one antitrypsin deficiency, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, bronchitis or emphysema.

Members of the Irish Lung Health Alliance are: Alpha One Foundation, ASH Ireland, Asthma Society of Ireland, Benbulben COPD Support, COPD Support Ireland, Cystic Fibrosis Ireland, Irish Cancer Society, Irish Lung Fibrosis Association, Irish Lung Foundation, Irish Thoracic Society, Irish Sarcoidosis Support, Irish Sleep Apnoea Trust, LAM (Lymphangioleiomyomatosis) Support Ireland, Pulmonary Hypertension Association, the Irish Institute of Clinical Measurement Science (Respiratory Faculty), the Irish Respiratory Nurses’ Association and the TobaccoFree Research Institute. For more information, visit

About Foróige

Foróige is the leading youth organisation in Ireland. The charity works with 54,000 young people and 5,500 adult volunteers annually, through a network of more than 600 youth clubs & cafés, 150 targeted projects and national programmes such as Citizenship, Entrepreneurship and Leadership.