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The Forgotten Irish

Utopian Hermit Monk

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Jun 8, 2007
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part 1 of 2 on TV3 last night

An excellent, but heart-breaking account of the plight of elderly Irish (1950s/60s emigrants) living in poverty and isolation in England.

Available for viewing here: The Forgotten Irish - TV3


One of the saddest documentaries I have watched in a long time.

Many of these people are now in their 70s or 80s, in poor health, isolated from their families back here. Some would love to return home and spend their final days here. We surely owe it to them to make that possible.




Emigrant Journey, National Journey
by Bernard Canavan (interviewed in documentary)



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MauriceColgan

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My parents took my sisters and brothers to England in 1949. I was seven years old.

I worked alongside many men like those portrayed in the TV Documentary.

Not all failed by any means. Some became men of property. One in particular, a building labourer travelled from Birmingham to Manchester on the early train every weekday morning and was never late. His grown daughter was attending University.

Lots of them frequented the Irish pubs in Manchester and surroundings and were for the most part quite happy.

I guess in later years the loneliness for many is unbearable.

I was lucky. I came home years ago with my wife after our two children had families of their own.
 

Utopian Hermit Monk

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Thanks, Maurice.


Yes, the documentary makes clear that some people did o.k.
But for many, loneliness and alcohol condemned them to isolation, bad health and poverty.

The Irish are disproportionately concentrated in the most disadvantaged areas of UK cities.

The Irish suffer some of the worst health of any ethnic group (and, shockingly, the statistics are even worse for 2nd and 3rd generation Irish in Britain).

It is estimated that 1950s/60s emigrants in the UK sent back between 2 and 4 billion pounds, keeping many families back here afloat. But many of them never managed to ensure their own financial security.

Between 30-40% of institutional abuse victims fled to the UK to try to rebuild their lives. Some of them never want to set foot here again.

To coincide with the documentary, TV3 News are doing some special reports. Here is one, with female former abuse victims:

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0A39Ma6cjM4"]YouTube - abuse survivors[/ame]





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The people I grew up among, the people who reared me, educated me, and the only people among whom I feel comfortable and 'at home'. I love Ireland, I enjoy living here, but I'm under no illusion that the Irish in Ireland are different to the Irish in England from that generation. The old fellows who arrived over in the 40s and 50s as youngsters were indeed often forgotten, many even by their own families. I should add that many more made a happy life in England, including family and career. Many of those who didn't took to drink, but far more took to the Church, they found a home there where none existed elsewhere.
 
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It has long been an issue and newspapers like Irish Post have been at the forefront for years in raising it.

Governments do offer support and help but on many occasions people do not want help or people to interfere.

The idea that lets bring them home is actually likely to cause more problems than it will solve. The Ireland they knew long since ceased to exist and while not sure of the stats it is likely to cause more problems than it could solve.

The best we can do is to continue supportive funding via Irish Centre and Outreach programs and provide funding for sheltered housing projects like Cara.

We owe them a debt and thankfully in the last 10 years the Govt support for Irish People overseas has been a start to it.

Many of these people would have witnessed the NBNOND policy of landladies and employees when the first went to the UK and have maintained their Irishness when being Irish was seen as a negative in the UK.
 

MauriceColgan

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Thanks, Maurice.


Yes, the documentary makes clear that some people did o.k.
But for many, loneliness and alcohol condemned them to isolation, bad health and poverty.

The Irish are disproportionately concentrated in the most disadvantaged areas of UK cities.

The Irish suffer some of the worst health of any ethnic group (and, shockingly, the statistics are even worse for 2nd and 3rd generation Irish in Britain).

It is estimated that 1950s/60s emigrants in the UK sent back between 2 and 4 billion pounds, keeping many families back here afloat. But many of them never managed to ensure their own financial security.

Between 30-40% of institutional abuse victims fled to the UK to try to rebuild their lives. Some of them never want to set foot here again.

To coincide with the documentary, TV3 News are doing some special reports. Here is one, with female former abuse victims:

YouTube - abuse survivors



.
You are welcome, U H Monk.

Funnily enough many of our school teachers in "The Classic Slum", Salford city Lancashire were Irish.

Mr O' Brian, Miss Power, Head teacher Delaney, Mr Cosgrave, Mr Flynn, Mr Garvey, etc. none of those owned a car!

Our doctors and nurses were Irish too.

There were a lots of Irish pubs and dance clubs in the locality.
My mother boarded labourers from the west of Ireland. Especially two gangly and unforgettable brothers from Leitrim.

The stories I could tell you. :)
 

Simply

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Jan 30, 2009
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It has long been an issue and newspapers like Irish Post have been at the forefront for years in raising it.

Governments do offer support and help but on many occasions people do not want help or people to interfere.

The idea that lets bring them home is actually likely to cause more problems than it will solve. The Ireland they knew long since ceased to exist and while not sure of the stats it is likely to cause more problems than it could solve.

The best we can do is to continue supportive funding via Irish Centre and Outreach programs and provide funding for sheltered housing projects like Cara.

We owe them a debt and thankfully in the last 10 years the Govt support for Irish People overseas has been a start to it.

Many of these people would have witnessed the NBNOND policy of landladies and employees when the first went to the UK and have maintained their Irishness when being Irish was seen as a negative in the UK.
That's true, many were alienated from British society but are also alienated from modern Irish society.The stay at homes and the state itself owes that generation a huge debt though..say between 2-4 billion.Some chance of it being paid ;)
 

Utopian Hermit Monk

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Governments do offer support and help but on many occasions people do not want help or people to interfere.

...

The best we can do is to continue supportive funding via Irish Centre and Outreach programs and provide funding for sheltered housing projects like Cara.

We owe them a debt and thankfully in the last 10 years the Govt support for Irish People overseas has been a start to it.

I agree that support should be offered to those who prefer to remain in the UK.

But they should have the option of ending their days back home.

We are great for unveiling memorials, but in this case (like that of abuse survivors, or children in need of proper care services) there is an opportunity to alleviate past suffering while those affected are still alive.

And the recession should not be offered as an excuse for inaction. Many millions continue to be squandered on inflated salaries, expenses, pensions for politicians and State 'servants'. Many more millions could be found by confiscating the considerable assets of greedy developers and bankers. Helping these forgotten emigrants would be a worthy way of spending some of this ill-gotten wealth.



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murf13

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Ironically,
When I clicked on the link it said that the clip cannot be viewed outside Ireland.
 

YesSireeeBob

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Sep 21, 2007
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just watched this. very good programme.

I have a feeling that a lot of these old men and women have families back in Ireland who could help them but who would consider them a burden.
They'd be quite happy for the government to pick up the burden though.The same families would take great interest in the wills of these people.
 

Horace Horse

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Feb 4, 2009
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Fianna Fail spends 10 times more money on helping foreign migrants in Ireland than on sustaining our own people who have fallen on hard times abroad.

But I guess that's what Irish voters want.
 

Amach na Casca

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Great programme. One of the most moving documentaries i've ever seen. God bless our ageing exiles!
 

st333ve

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Many of these people are now in their 70s or 80s, in poor health, isolated from their families back here. Some would love to return home and spend their final days here. We surely owe it to them to make that possible.
Reminds me of a Christy Moore song.

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKzfe8RWDpo"]YouTube - Missing You - Christy Moore [9/21][/ame]
 

MauriceColgan

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Back in 1958 my mother provided a group of construction guys with room and board. The lads fresh from the west were living it up and earning good money.

No thoughts of old age then. I saw them mature, some marry and others turn to drink.

Two lanky brothers from the wilds of leitrim were completely 'lost' in Manchester. What with electricity, indoor toilets, with a pump :) they were often mystified.

They had arrived in old suits, caps and wellies. A few years later I spotted them outside a church in Salford all spruced up in brand new suits, that would not have been out of place in Saville row!

A far cry from the day when they tried to 'pump' the lavatory, after just flushing it.

I just hope they moved back to Ireland after making a little fortune. They had a house and land here. They were two lovely and innocent men who were inseperable.

Me the young city slicker was far more innocent. If only I had known at the time.

Leitrim is quite lovely.
 

stray creditor

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The Post Independent Irish State evolved to benefit a certain mileau and certain types, and the solution to Ireland's economic woes was gone and forgotten,while there has been fantastic changes in Ireland over the last forty years,particularly the introduction of free second level education.The current economic crisis has exposed the myth of New Ireland as nothing more than media tripe, as sectional interests seek to protect their own postion; and the political class and a certain mileau who have always being well catered for, want the old solution of gone and forgotten, again.The head or mind of Ireland did not change in the Celtic Tiger era.

The people who emigrated from Ireland in the 1950's for instance were heroic people who had hard lives and got nothing for nothing,back in the 1980's I noticed that alot of people in Ireland,particularly the tweedy jacket brigade who wanted to bring about social change did not want to know of the tough lives of the Irish abroad,it was not how they saw themselves, I guess.

Just while on the theme of gone and forgotten,back, during the Potato Famine there were people in Ireland dropping like flies in counties that had some of the best land in Europe,yet in Co. Donegal which was affected by the potato blight and had predominantly poor land, that was not the case, people were not dropping like flies,Donegal different again I guess.Maybe there was alot of land grabbing in places with good land,eh?Grab everything eh?sums up alot in this country today.
 
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Apr 22, 2009
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the same faith has befallen many of our new immigrant communities here especially in dublin. irish have the highest homeless rate of any of the foreigners in london.

its very sad. here, many polish feel great shame in returning home and they have nothing so go to the streets. they came here full of hope and this is what happens :mad:

we need to help these people both the irish in england and our new irish.
 

joel

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May 3, 2007
Messages
803
The Post Independent Irish State evolved to benefit a certain mileau and certain types, and the solution to Ireland's economic woes was gone and forgotten,while there has been fantastic changes in Ireland over the last forty years,particularly the introduction of free second level education.The current economic crisis has exposed the myth of New Ireland as nothing more than media tripe, as sectional interests seek to protect their own postion; and the political class and a certain mileau who have always being well catered for, want the old solution of gone and forgotten, again.The head or mind of Ireland did not change in the Celtic Tiger era.

The people who emigrated from Ireland in the 1950's for instance were heroic people who had hard lives and got nothing for nothing,back in the 1980's I noticed that alot of people in Ireland,particularly the tweedy jacket brigade who wanted to bring about social change did not want to know of the tough lives of the Irish abroad,it was not how they saw themselves, I guess.

Just while on the theme of gone and forgotten,back, during the Potato Famine there were people in Ireland dropping like flies in counties that had some of the best land in Europe,yet in Co. Donegal which was affected by the potato blight and had predominantly poor land, that was not the case, people were not dropping like flies,Donegal different again I guess.Maybe there was alot of land grabbing in places with good land,eh?Grab everything eh?sums up alot in this country today.

Holocaust denial - maybe they lived on air in Donegal?
 


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