Young Irish emigrants in London share their experiences of seeking housing, employment and dealing with racism.
Kilburn and Cricklewood are parts of London becoming increasingly familiar to young Irish men and women who have made their way to London to find work and a new life.
Leo Enright meets some of the young Irish emigrants who share their experiences of life in London at a conference on youth emigration held in Kilburn. For those interviewed the key to making a success of the move is to be prepared. One of the key issues raised at the conference related to the treatment of the
Irish in London and racism.
London is no place without money.
Kevin O'Connell from Cashel in Tipperary says that in Ireland
Everywhere I turned there was depression and I was depressed myself and if I didn't come over I'd say I'd be six foot under.
Bernadette Corkery describes the financial problems facing young Irish emigrants and the perception of Irish men as drunks.
If you want to do well, you have to work hard.
Triona Nic Giolla Choille of the Emigrant Support group describes the racism that many Irish people experience.
Speaking at the conference Dubliner Bernadette Manning tells her story of arriving in London and how she was not prepared for what lay ahead. Bernadette did not receive the welcome she expected on arriving in London when the police blew up her suitcase as they were convinced she was carrying bombs.
Dave Murphy warns that the dream of a better life in London is not always the reality, that the streets are not paved with gold and people need to be realistic about their expectations. Dave believes education is key and that information about emigration should be part of the school curriculum.
Eileen Good worked on an RTÉ documentary on emigration twenty years ago and is now doing a follow-up study. The only thing that has changed in this time are the numbers of people travelling to England with many still coming unprepared for what lies ahead.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 19 February 1988. The reporter is Leo Enright.