My name is Anthony Monaghan, but everyone calls me Tony. I am originally from Blacksod Bay, County Mayo in the West of Ireland, a gorgeous place. When I was 15, I had no choice but to leave Ireland in search of work abroad. My first job was picking potatoes in England, a place where The Irish weren't very popular at that time. Since then, I've traveled the world and lived in many different places. Eventually, I settled in St. Louis, Missouri where I started a successful masonry company called Irish Construction and raised three daughters. A few years ago, I founded Monaghan Productions LLC and independently directed and produced the internationally acclaimed documentary, Rednecks + Culchies. It took a hard look at the substance abuse problems of the American working class from the perspective of European tradesmen.
My new documentary is about something I'm very passionate about - my homeland, My Ireland. It tells my story, but more importantly, the stories of countless Irish men and women who, like me, were forced to emigrate to make a living. Since my childhood, Ireland has evolved from being a very poor country to being a very wealthy one. Why then are the Irish still pouring out of Ireland in droves in search of employment just like they did generations ago? Who is to blame? But it is not just the people leaving Ireland who are losing their homes. Homelessness is on the rise as crooked banks and predatory Vulture Funds are kicking people out of their houses, including those of the middle class. My own home in Ireland where I took my daughters for fifteen years was misappropriated. The government and many of the politicians, too corrupt, indifferent or powerless to intervene, have stood by and done nothing as lives were, and continue to be, destroyed. The press and media are reluctant to discuss these tragedies, treating them like a taboo subject.
In the making of My Ireland, I travelled across the nation with a film crew and interviewed Irish people from all walks of life and social classes, from the fisherman to the politician. I wanted to understand why these social injustices continue and, moreover, why they are tolerated by a people who, for hundreds of years, were known for being unconquered and untamable. By shedding light on these issues I hope to catalyze, if not directly effect, positive and radical change. My Ireland is a film for the Irish, by the Irish.