"My Heart is Still There"


About this Item

An extract from a 'Prime Time Investigates' programme looking at the neglect of generations of economic migrants. These Irish people are forgotten by the country of their birth and often ignored by their adopted home.

  • Title
    Lost Generation
  • 1st Broadcast
  • Contributor
    Paul Rouse (Reporter)
    Niamh O'Connor (Producer/Director)
  • Clip Duration
  • Material Type
  • Series title
    Prime Time Investigates
  • Clip title
    "My Heart is Still There"
  • Extended description

    In this extract Frank and Seamus two Irish men who emigrated over thirty years ago talk about their circumstances now living in London.

    Seamus and Frank walking from their house in the Cricklewood area of London. Reporter Paul Rouse explains that for years Seamus and Frank worked on building sites all across London but their generation are now replaced by migrants from Eastern Europe.

    A house is shown in Cricklewood, London that's shared by eight Irishmen. Seamus' rent of £85 per week is paid by the local council to his Irish landlord. Seamus and Frank drink cider in Seamus' squalid bed-sit. Another Irishman called Billy talks to them from door. Seamus has lived here for 8 years, there is now no light, heat, or running water.

    Seamus, says there was electricity and gas but the landlady pulled the gas out. He says he is not receiving welfare. He says the lads are good to me, between that and the skips I'm surviving, they know I'll bounce back.

    Seamus shows the camera a wind up radio which he describes, as his best friend. Asked about his future he says, "I'm bang on 50. I don't really know you know? I'm livin day to day, if Celtic win I'm happy, if they lose I'm depressed. That is about the size of it. I'd love to get out of this room, please God."

    Frank who is from, county Longford describes his flat consisting of a double-bed, a cooker and sink which don't work, and no hot water. He says his landlady wants £95 per week. He says there was a rat here recently, but the landlady says if you get the rat catcher out you pay him.  I'm not paying him, I worked all my life, paid all my taxes, now look where I'm stuck, after all my work. Says when he was mugged and fell on hard times and he had an awful struggle getting few pound out of this government.

    Frank's room is decorated with Irish flags, maps and trinkets.

    "There is lot of paraphernalia here belonging to Ireland. I had to leave it but my heart is still there. My heart is still there that is why all the paraphernalia is up there. Why wouldn't it? I don;t no how to say it..I had to leave it but I want to die in it."

  • Information

    In the fourth programme of this in-depth investigative series, (Monday 22nd December, 9.30pm on RTÉ 1) "Prime Time Investigates: Ireland's Forgotten Generation" examines the underworld of the elderly Irish community in England. Abandoned in hostels and the side-streets of suburban England, the men who built Britain live out the end of their lives in appalling poverty and with problems which include mental illness, alcoholism and isolation. The Irish are the largest ethnic group in England, but also its most disadvantaged. Shot over the course of a week, the programme exposes the neglect of the lost generations of economic migrants who still live in what remains of the Irish ghettos of North London, Coventry and Manchester.Now, forgotten by their country of birth and ignored by their adopted home, they are the remnants of a culture dying on its feet. 'Prime Time Investigates' documents the lives of those who have fallen between the cracks in both England and Ireland.

  • Local keywords
    Emigration, Emigrants, Poverty, Housing, Alcoholism, Cricklewood, London, Immigrants, Immigration
  • Geographical coverage
  • Topic
    Society and Social Issues
  • Publisher Broadcaster
  • First broadcast channel
    RTÉ One
  • Production year
  • Country of production
  • Original identifier
  • IPR restrictions
    Rights Reserved - Free Access
  • Rights terms and conditions

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  • Item type
  • Item colour
  • Item sound
  • Aspect ratio
    16:9 (widescreen)
  • Language used
    English (eng)
  • Original language
    English (eng)