The Irish in England - Film Screenings & Talk
Date: September 24, 2017
Venue: London Irish Centre
Film Screenings & Discussion
With Filmmaker, Ken Lynam
The ‘Irish in England’ is a 2-part series first shown on Channel 4 in 1983. The programmes tell the story of the generation of Irish men and women who came to England in the 1950’s and 60’s. Using in-depth interviews, they explore the economic, social and cultural factors affecting their and their children’s lives as they settled here.
Programme 1 explores the ‘push and pull’ forces which saw thousands of Irish people forced to leave Ireland because of a stagnating economy, to seek work in the post war reconstruction in England. Participants, including Mary Allen, Donal MacAmhlaigh, and Doris Daly, relate their personal stories, building a picture of a community that was valued for its skill and labour, but was not always made to feel welcome. They talk about the importance of music and the church in maintaining links with their culture, and ponder the question of where is ‘home’.
Programme 2 explores the issue of Irish identity, particularly for those born here. Participants, including Anne Collins and Steve Brennan, talk about growing up in England as they sought to negotiate a path between their Irish roots and English views of them. An issue reflected in discussion with participants at the Irish Festival in Roundwood Park. Their stories are told against the background of the history of anti-Irish racism, and the impact of The Troubles and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which contributed to the low profile of the community. A profile that began to be challenged in the early 1980’s.
The Programmes have been rescued by the London Community Video Archive which is committed to collecting and screening community-made film and videos from the period to create contemporary discussion and action. Link www.the-lcva.co.uk.
The screenings will be introduced on the filmmaker and there will feature a short post-film discussion.