A young Dubliner who made global headlines after talking a suicidal man off the Ha'penny Bridge has warned that snobbery is alive and well in modern Ireland.
Ballymun local Jamie Harrington was just 15-years-old when he approached the man and talked him down.
He eventually convinced him to get into an ambulance and the man later named his son Jamie.
Now 21-years-old, Mr Harrington last night appeared on the ‘First Dates’ show on RTÉ television.
During the programme, he shocked his date Rosa from County Louth with stories of the discrimination he has received - simply because he comes from Ballymun.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, he opened up about the experiences he has had as a “young Ballymunner and a young man who comes from a working-class area.”
“I don’t use the word disadvantaged lightly but I do use it when I talk about this,” he said. “We are a disadvantaged area.
“The experiences I have had are doors slammed in my face, interviews not happening. You know, you get a phone call back, they find out where you live and you never hear from them again.”
Mr Harrington said there is a real issue with the way working-class areas are covered in the Irish media.
“Recently we had a murder in my very own locality and I sent out a tweet that went kind of viral and it read, dear media of Ireland, come to Ballymun and I’ll show you the good things. We don’t just have to talk about the bad things,” he said.
“It seems like the media only ever wants to visit Ballymun when someone has been shot or when there is a big drug find.
“They don’t want to come and talk about St Michael’s House who have a big community here or the various sports projects and youth projects who host amazing events all the time.”
"That hurt my soul"
He said the global media treated him very differently than the Irish media did after his experience on the Ha’penny Bridge.
“There was an interview I went to; I was only like 15 at the time and I remember sitting down with this reporter and he was saying, so you’re from Ballymun, what side of Ballymun are you from?”
“I said I was from Coultry and very proud of it. He said to me: “Is that near Glasnevin? Could we put you down as from Glasnevin?”
“I just looked at him and went, ‘I’m going to go.’ I just left and for days and days that hurt my soul.”
He said he is extremely proud of his Ballymun roots.
“I take my pride in Ballymun very seriously because this community has raised me and this community built me into the young man that I am,” he said.
“They have always supported me, they have never said, ‘ah he’s not one of us, I have always been one of their own.’
“I have always been treasured in Ballymun and I am very appreciative. So, for me, when I see the media only talk about the negative in my community it really, really hurts.”
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