This weekend, Documentary On Newstalk airs the premiere of ‘Angels of Mercy’ produced by Grainne McPolin, which explores the story of the women who left Ireland to train and work as nurses in England across the second half of the 20th Century and were an often overlooked but important element in the development of the UK National Health Service.
We will hear how these young women began lives in a whole new world “I remember there were two Malaysian and three English girls living there as well, but the rest of us, we were from every corner in Ireland; we worked hard and we played hard and as a nurse you see life, you see death and also everything in between..”
Angels of Mercy is a story told through the experiences of five Irish women of different generations who made their careers in nursing in England between 1950 and 1980. In addition, historians Professor Louise Ryan, Professor Jennifer Redmond and Dr Sarah O’Brien give context to the women’s narrative
Presenter and producer Grainne McPolin worked as a nurse herself in England and brings her own experience to the narrative.
The programme is a snapshot into the socio-political scene of the time and its impact on an Irish nurse recruited in the UK NHS. It tells how these women developed a sense of Irish Identity and Irish community outside of Ireland.
‘Angels of Mercy’ will be broadcast on Newstalk on Sunday March 14th at 7am with repeat broadcast on Saturday March 20th at 9pm and will be available as a podcast after it is first broadcast.
‘Angels of Mercy’ was produced, recorded and edited by Gráinne McPolin
Photography “Class of ’65 Joyce Green Hospital, London” donated by the kind permission of Bernie Naughton
Mary Hazard author ‘Sixty Years a Nurse’ with Corrine Sweet, Harper Collins 2015
Migration Museum Lewisham London: Exhibition: ‘Heart of the Nation’, Matthew Plowright, Head of Communications
Kerry College: Ioseph Nestor, Assistant Manager
Kelly Creighton: AP.
Music: ‘Kitty Goes to London’ by Amala, composed and arranged by JJ O’Shea
‘Angels of Mercy’ was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence Fee