Irish Community & Culture
Young Irish women, recruited by the NHS through recruitment drives through interviews around Ireland specifically to find women for nurse training, became ‘the backbone of the NHS’.
Leading the project are Professor Louise Ryan, Senior Professor of Sociology and Director of the Global Diversities and Inequalities Research Centre at London Metropolitan University, and award-winning documentary maker Grainne McPolin, a Kerry native who served as a nurse for over 30 years (including at NHS hospitals in London) before re-training as a radio producer in 2015.
Stemming from interest and desire for more from listeners of McPolin’s 2021 ‘Angels of Mercy’ radio documentary, and Ryan’s widely cited and pioneering research on the role of Irish immigrant women in the NHS in the early 2000s, McPolin will conduct interviews with twenty-five women in a 20-episode podcast series, as well as an academic report compiled by Ryan.
Speaking on the project, Ryan and McPolin said, “We are delighted that the London Irish Centre has come on board as a partner in this important research project. We are grateful to Gary Dunne, [Creative Director] London Irish Centre, for his encouragement and the LIC’s financial support for this project and we look forward to a fruitful partnership as this project unfolds over the coming years.”
“The LIC is delighted to partner with the London Met on this important project,” Dunne expressed, “We see this as an exciting opportunity to capture, celebrate and share the stories of countless Irish women who have contributed so much to the NHS for decades. This project will be a key strand of our Education and Heritage programme.”
Also providing funding for this project is the Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation.
With potential additional funding and support, the team is looking to write an oral history book based on this project.