Irish Men Build Nuclear Power Plant

EXHIBITION : EMIGRATION ONCE AGAIN

About this Item

An extract from a 'Radharc' film reporting on the many Irish men  working on the construction of a nuclear power plant at Oldbury, Bristol in England.

  • Title
    Oldbury Work Camp
  • 1st Broadcast
    14/02/1965
  • Contributor
    Peter Lemass (Reporter)
  • Clip Duration
    00:11:17
  • Material Type
    Video
  • Series title
    Radharc
  • Clip title
    Irish Men Build Nuclear Power Plant
  • Extended description

    An extract from a programme looking at the lives of Irish men working on the construction of a nuclear power station at Oldbury in England. A special 'camp' was built to house construction workers as the site was some distance from the nearest towns. The clip shown here features interviews with Irish workers who talk about their conditions, pay and working away from home.

    At a meal breaks a man climbs down from crane tower and workers head to the canteen. In the canteen workers eat a meal while staff prepare food in the kitchens. 

    Reporter Father Peter Lemass talks about the canteen and the importance of workers' well being as, "...it is not easy to find men to work on projects of this kind in Britain today. Not only is the work hard it is lonely as well."

    The men live in wooden huts constructed on site.

    Reporter Father Peter Lemass describes how the employers must provide not just food for the workers but living and recreation accommodation as well. The 'small town' of huts is called Oldbury camp.

    Peter Lemass talks to a number of Irish workers who are working on the site. They talk about the living and working conditions. Social life can revolve around drink and the need for a car to get to the nearest city of Bristol. Some of the workers have left their families in Ireland and are sending money home. They talk about the difficulties of living in England where there are no local Catholic schools. One man feels that England is a very materialistic country.

    Peter Lemass says There are many Irish men who have made England their home. They have become integrated. The Irish men of Oldbury show no signs of settling down here they are nomadic workers who follow the big construction work. Feeling that this work is only temporary. One day they will be back in Ireland when things are better. Many grow old waiting for the day they will return.

    The workers talk about returning to live in Ireland. One worker says after ten years in England he has kind of settled but the longing is for home. No matter where you go you always feel like a stranger among people here.  Another worker says he has no desire to settle and hopes to go back home. He sees many men with intention of returning to Ireland but they never do.

    Another Irish worker laughing say the money is good and work is hard. He has no intention of staying he has his own place in Ireland.

    Another Irish worker says he would not settle here even if he was offered a thousand pounds a week. He hopes to work for another eighteen months and wants to return before his children are grown up. He saves hard living a kind of hermit's life and misses shooting, fishing and the freedom to move around the countryside he has at home. 

    One worker says he is happy here and is better looked after than if at home.

  • Information

    'Radharc', a series specialising in religious programming, was produced for RTÉ by Radharc, an independent production company run by Catholic priests and lay staff. Founding director Father Joseph Dunn put together a team of priests, some of whom had received training in television production in London and New York in the late 1950s. The 'Radharc' team made their first production in 1960 in Donegal, a short film about customs relating to St Brigid's Day. The first programme in the 'Radharc' series for RTÉ was broadcast on 12 January 1962.

    Between 1961 and 1996 the 'Radharc' team would produce over 400 hundred films from Ireland and around the world. 'Radharc' means view or vision, and the films often dealt with issues relating to peace and justice both at home and abroad.

    The popular religious affairs series ended production in 1996 after the death of Father Joseph Dunn. The 'Radharc' collection of films is managed by Esras Films for the Radharc Trust.

    The extract shown here is taken from 'Olbury Work Camp' and was first broadcast 14 February 1965.

  • Local keywords
    Emigration, Employment, Unemployment, Construction Industry, Religion, Catholic Church, Nuclear Power, Workers, Olbury, Bristol, England
  • Geographical coverage
    Ireland
  • Topic
    Society and Social Issues
  • Publisher Broadcaster
    RTÉ
  • First broadcast channel
    RTÉ One
  • Production year
    1964
  • Country of production
    IRELAND
  • Original identifier
    P69/00064
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
  • Rights terms and conditions

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  • Item type
    part/extract
  • Item colour
    Black and White
  • Item sound
    Mono
  • Aspect ratio
    4:3
  • Language used
    English (eng)
  • Original language
    English (eng)
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