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Nightshift

RTÉ Two, Thursday 17 October 2013, 9.55pm

'Nightshift' offers a snapshot of a night in the life of those who work into night throughout the country.The documentary offers exclusive access to Cork's paramedic service, Dublin's Childline phone-line office, and films for the first time, an Irish online sex worker providing his services over the internet. It also meets the collection of engaging and colourful characters who work at night - running our fruit markets and late night casinos, baking our bread, and keeping our streets clean.

While most of us are tucked up in our beds at night, almost one in nine people in Ireland are only just starting their day's work. Night workers inhabit a peculiar quirky upside-down world; arriving to work as the sun goes down, and returning home as it rises.

As some of Ireland's population spend the night time hours gambling, others are sitting at their computer paying for sex shows. Conor * (* not real name) spends the night time hours earning extra money as a sex worker on the internet. He provides 'shows' for interested punters, but always keeps his identity concealed.

Cork based paramedics Peter and Imelda have been working as a team for a number of years; we follow them as they start work on their 12 hour nightshift. On any one shift, each paramedic team has to deal with a number of emergency life threatening calls. We follow as the drama unfolds and watch the paramedics as they battle to treat patients at the scene of the emergency. From dealing with someone who has taken a heroin overdose to another suffering a stroke, their job is highly pressurised and challenging.

While the paramedics tend to medical emergencies in Cork, meanwhile in Dublin, Michael mans the phones in the Childline Centre. All through the night, he answers calls from concerned children who need someone to talk to. With funding for only a handful of Childline workers at night, more than a third of the calls go unanswered. Many children put their phone on redial, waiting for a chance to talk. Every call is different, and he must be prepared to help children with issues ranging from sexual abuse to bullying to sheer loneliness.

We also meet Gyozo who works as a croupier in one of Dublin's busiest casinos. Here, people keen to make some cash test their luck at poker, roulette and black jack. We see Deirdre - a regular at the casino at age 79 - as she plays with her fellow gamblers trying to make a few quid.

Back out in the streets, we follow Eddie and Frankie as they work hard to keep the roads and pavements of Dublin clean. They must pick up the rubbish the public have thrown on the streets, sweep the pavements and empty the bins around the city. They see the downside of Ireland's drinking culture. It's a relentless and tough job, but one they take pride in.

Away from the city in darkest Cavan, Bat Monitor Tina heads out to the woodlands to carry out her work on bats. It's a solitary and lonely job and one that can be eerie. As she says, you have to be a certain type of person to be a Bat Monitor.

As darkness begins to turn to light, the Dublin Cooperation Market springs to life, and opens it's doors for trade. We meet some of the workers in the market, who offer pearls of wisdom of their philosophy of life...

Over the night we also meet a number of other nightworkers - the sleepnurse who helps parents whose babies refuse to go to sleep, the late night DJ who broadcasts in the wee small hours, and the Polish bakers who bake our daily bread, and the air traffic controllers who keep the skies above Ireland safe, while the rest of us slumber beneath.

In this new documentary, we get to see extraordinary people and the jobs they do, in order to keep Ireland ticking away while most of us are sleeping soundly.

 

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