We've had Generation X, now this must-see RTÉ documentary shows us Generation F'd

RTÉ have come up with a documentary highlighting the inequality in Ireland at the moment.

In it, we meet Dublin hairdresser, Keira Gill, who is aiming to become the female equivalent of Fr Peter McVerry in terms of fighting homelessness.

Keira, who is now studying community development, became so frustrated with the number of homeless people she saw on the streets on her way home from work that she set up her own soup kitchen to help.

The Lending Hand, a soup kitchen she has organised every Monday evening on the steps of the Central Bank in Dublin city centre, feeds up 300 people - families, people in tents and people in B&Bs.

Her story features in Generation F’d, a documentary airing on RTÉ2 at 10.30pm tonight which takes a look at the plight of Ireland’s 25-35 year olds struggling to get a foothold on their adult lives and whose future prospects look bleak.

Keira, from Coolock in north Dublin, tells viewers: "We have about 15 volunteers and we could feed up to between 200 and 300 people on a Monday night... Not only do we feed homeless people that live in laneways, we feed families, we feed people in hotel rooms, we have people in tents that have nothing that we have to keep going.

"The situation is 100 times worse, definitely now, 100 times worse."

Keira, who has worked as a hairdresser since she was 14 years old, spent two years diligently saving to buy her own home only to be told that, as a single person, she was unlikely to every own her own home in Dublin.

She points out that there are so many different levels to homelessness, including the hidden homeless.

“Sometimes I go hungry to feed my kids, can anyone in Dáil Éireann understand what it means not to have enough money to feed their children?”

So says Andy Farrell in another installment of the hard-hitting RTÉ documentary.

He is a plasterer/foreman and his partner works in healthcare. They have one four-year-old daughter and he has a teenage son from a previous relationship, who he also partly supports.

They work every hour they get and still can’t keep up with their rent. In the summer of 2016, Andrew sold his girlfriend’s car to pay rent, has borrowed money from family and friends to cover basic bills and in August 2016 they put their TV up for sale to try to make ends meet.

They can’t hold off much longer and will become homeless if their landlord loses patience with arrears. Sometimes they haven’t got enough money to buy food.

The long term impact of the 2008 crash is being most profoundly felt by this group, known as ‘Generation Y’, a cohort impacted by high rates of unemployment, emigration and associated mental health issues.

Over three episodes, Generation F'd paints a candid portrait of being a young adult in a country where getting a fair crack of the whip is becoming tougher and tougher. We see the pressure, paralysis and the battle to get established as a fully blown adult in 21st Century Ireland.

Told over the course of a few months and featuring young people from Cavan, Louth, Meath, Dublin and Westmeath, the lives of these participants will be intercut across the series with expert commentary to reveal the story of being young and a bit f’d in Ireland.

Generation F'd is a three-part series which starts on RTÉ2 tonight at 10.30pm.

By Peter Towe

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