"There's something special about it": Paddy Holohan praises community spirit shown in new Jobstown documentary

The former UFC fighter discusses his hometown, and the end of his fighting career

Paddy Holohan, Jobstown, UFC,

Image: ©INPHO/Gary Carr

Former UFC fighter Paddy Holohan knows what it's like to grow up in Jobstown, an area of Dublin that has been in the headlines for being one of the leading forces in the movement against water charges.

It is also an area that has its fair share of challenges, but in a new documentary series, the community spirit of the area, as well as the more difficult aspects of life in the suburb, will be brought to the fore.

Speaking to Pat Kenny on Thursday morning about his role in the making of the four-part series, Holohan opened up about the sudden end to his UFC career, and what effect it has had on him since. 

"When I got my contract for the UFC, that was definitely the plan, to go all the way, but I was born with a really rare disorder, which means I can no longer pass a medical for MMA in Ireland or the world, so I had to hang up my gloves and follow the path that I had set up before I became a fighter. 

"My health is brilliant, it's just that there's not enough research on what I have to be able to clear it medically to compete in martial arts."

Holohan added that despite his time with the marquee name in MMA coming to an end before he expected it to, he always had a back up plan that he was ready to fall back on. 

"Before I started fighting, I qualified in all my coaching certs and my personal training certs. You've got to prepare for what's coming down the hill, and if you think you're just going to make it to the top of the world and make a load of money, you're probably going to get a harsh reality at the end of this game.

"Fighting is an incredibly tough sport, not just in the ring, not just training; media obligations, trying to make a living out of it while you're doing it. I know, I've been there. Not everybody gets to to do the Rocky story.  

"Everybody is going to have to leave it behind some day or another," Holohan added. "I'm on the path already. I'm 28 years of age now, I have a lot of experience of travelling around the world and experience from fighting has made me a lot more mature than any other 28-year-old, I'm pretty grateful for that."

The documentary series exploring life in his hometown, This is Jobstown, is a cause that's close to his heart, as he revealed to Pat why he got involved in the project. 

"I got a phone call from the producer and she asked would I be interested in casting light on the good parts of Jobstown, the area that I grew up in and come from, and I jumped at the chance.

"I know that the community we live in, it is seen as being a disadvantaged in a way, but there's something special about it; the community always comes together and you know your neighbours [...] home is home is home."

Image: ©INPHO/Gary Carr

Holohan added that while there were very few amenities and services when Jobstown was first built, the community is the reason that it has grown and thrived. 

"It's not where you live, it's how you live. I believe a lot of the answers are in your own head, in the way you think [...] It's definitely about the mindset that you bring to where you live, no matter where you are. There are people in the world in a lot of difficult situations, I've been in places and I've seen different situations, so where we are, we're actually every privileged."

Highlighting the story of one family, where there are currently 11 people living under one roof in a council house, Holohan said that it is not unique, rather a symptom of a wider issue in Ireland. 

"That's an incredible story, but to be honest I don't think that's a Jobstown story" Holohan said. "I think that's a Dublin story at the moment. If you look at the homeless crisis, and if you look at the situation in trying to rent a house - a mortgage is a cheaper to pay than to rent a house, to me that just doesn't make sense. That is not a Jobstown problem, that's a Dublin problem."

This is Jobstown starts on Thursday, 12th January, at 9pm on TV3.