Thursday, 22 February 2018

I want to see more stories about the parts of Ireland we don't talk about

Ireland is pumping out movies these days. It's great. The film scene here has never been healthier but I'd like to see it being used to shine a light on some of our more pressing societal issues. We need to see more films about the rarely mentioned sides of Ireland, the things we don't want to talk about. The people we ignore, the alienated and the disenfranchaised. The things that to outsiders make us look backward and ignorant. We need to have our faces rubbed in it. We need to wake up. Our leaders need to wake up and film is a great way to get people to take notice.

We need to see stories about : 

The suicide epidemic that is decimating generations of people in this country and that is being totally ignored by the powers that be. The mental health situation in Ireland is a ticking time bomb.

The horror of direct provision and the stories of the people trapped in limbo there. The children who've grown up knowing nothing else. The wasted talent just sitting there rotting.

The stories of the girls and women who've had to travel to Britain for abortions that they can't legally get here. The fact that women in the 21st century don't have the right to choose what they can do with their own bodies is shameful.

The damage religion has done and the indelible stain it has left on people. The people who's lives have been ruined by clerical abuse and church interference.

The families being raised in hotels and bed & breakfasts that have been utterly failed by everyone.

The racism and homophobia that we deny exists anymore but that is still happening around us everyday. 

The story of Irish immigrants, the people who've left and who are miserable abroad but have no choice as there's nothing for them here.

The homeless people whom we are afraid to make eye contact with who are dying on our streets metres away from a building filled with politicians who'd step over them.

The corruption endemic in every aspect of our society from sport to government to charity.

And finally our horrible, horrible relationship with alcohol. The truest Irish cliche we see in film is one that's rarely looked at in a negative light. 

I love Ireland. I really do. It's a beautiful place full of brilliant people but we need to see more about these things. Some of the greatest films ever made were the ones that asked the hard questions and shone a light on the things we wanted to keep in the dark. If these stories are told more openly then hopefully answers will be more forthcoming. Over the years film has shown itself to be a powerful force for change because it's a medium that's accessible to everyone. 

It can do more. It should do more.

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