An Irish immigrant's new documentary about the hidden world of Irish and American construction workers' poor work habits, drug and alcohol addictions and histories of crime is not a story that Americans want told.
That is according to the rookie filmmaker and Irish construction company owner now residing in St. Louis, MO Tim Monaghan. His new movie “Rednecks and Culchies” aims to depict how poverty can affect a man's choices, happiness and overall life path.
The movie is already set for worldwide distribution and is already tipped to be one of the documentaries of the year.
Speaking to the Irish Mirror Monaghan said, “I wanted to make this film because I knew the story had to be told.
“It’s about America; it’s about the working man and how he’s forgotten.
“The suffering and all the stuff they have to go through, especially being an immigrant.
“It’s a big story that nobody has touched before. Nobody had the balls to touch it actually.
“But I said I’d tell it. It’s a story nobody wants to hear about their country, or anywhere – that it’s rotten to the core on the inside.
“These guys are working on your houses, they’re all insane and addicted and everything. And they’re the only guys you can find sometimes, you have to work with them.”
Originally from Belmullet, County Mayo, Monaghan completed only five years of schooling before went to the United States to work on the building sites. Now, two decades on, Monaghan has his own company but over the years he has been stunned by the prevalence of poverty and addiction to hardcore drugs such as crystal meth, heroin and crack cocaine among his colleagues.
Monaghan continued, “It’s like working in a mental institute sometimes. But what do I do? I gotta feed my family, I gotta live.
“It will bring in the side of addiction, what it can do to a life and family and kids. It will bring the side of the immigrant too. What he has to deal with when he goes to these countries. Because I’m sure it’s everywhere.”
He said he wanted to make the movie to highlight how these problems are caused. That is social inequality and not race issues of xenophobia, as he believes are often blamed.
“The way the economy has gone the last few years up and down, people lose faith. Blue collar workers are very vulnerable,” Monaghan said.
“You’ve got the same as this in Ireland, I hear about all the suicides and all the depression over there.
“It’s a story I want to tell because they’re all great characters. They’re interesting guys, they’ve all got their own stories.”
Monaghan believes that his success was driven by his own struggles at school. He said, “I’m a very tough guy, rejection just makes me stronger. You can say whatever you want to me but I just say ‘Hey, that’s what you think of me, but I’m going to make it happen’.
“So I figured I have no limitations. When I was a kid the teacher used to make a joke of me going into school. I was the joke of the school.
“And I said to myself ‘One of these days I’ll show you guys.’ As I say, I couldn’t read or write, and they were laughing about me. I said ‘Just give me a chance.’
“They didn’t explain to me. It was pure abuse when we were kids, they beat us all the time.”
A local St. Louis publication, River Front Times, wrote of the movie, “It's no secret that many St. Louisans are just scraping by, paycheck to paycheck. But for those whose jobs are seasonal or uncertain, the gaps in between are more familiar than the paychecks. Tony Monaghan came to America from Ireland to escape the classism and prejudice of his homeland but found a subtler, more pernicious form of class warfare here…
“The film 'Rednecks + Culchies' (an Irish term equivalent to redneck) shows how the working class lives in a city that ignores them at best and dismisses them at worst.”
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