Housing Discrimination – Trish McAdam Filmmaker Playlist

Filmmaker Playlist, Trish McAdam Filmmaker Playlist, Documentary, Irish Language, Irish Culture, History
Directed by:
IFI | Department of Foreign Affairs
Produced by:
IFI | Department of Foreign Affairs

2022 | 1954

10 mins

Our second IFI Filmmaker Playlist is curated by filmmaker and visual artist Trish McAdam. Since the production of her early shorts in the 1980s, Trish has created a vibrant and varied body of work, embracing a range of forms and subjects and retaining a singular, independent voice. We’re delighted to welcome Trish to the Irish Film Institute to select her top picks from films preserved in the IFI Irish Film Archive and presented on the IFI Archive Player. To view the other selections from Trish’s Filmmaker Playlist, click here.

Shot in 1953, this film highlighted housing discrimination practiced by the unionist-controlled council in the town of Fintona in County Tyrone.

It outlines the inequalities faced by the poorer, and usually nationalist, inhabitants, and details how new council houses are being given to unionist residents who are in less need of the houses than nationalists. It argues that the discrimination is motivated by the desire to maintain a majority of unionist voters in certain constituencies.

Housing Discrimination was produced by the Information Division of the Irish Department of External Affairs (now the Department of Foreign Affairs) and was allegedly partly shot using a hidden camera. In 1954 it was distributed in Britain by the Anti-Partition League, which prompted the Northern Ireland provincial government to complain to the British government, asking it to lodge a complaint with the Irish government. The film is interesting for a number of reasons; its originator (effectively the Irish government), its subject matter (housing discrimination in Northern Ireland), its argument (discrimination represents a conspiracy against the people of Ireland by a ruling group acting in concert with the British government) and its language (virulently Irish nationalist and anti-British).

To see more from The Department of Foreign Affairs Collection, click here.

With kind permission of the Department of Foreign Affairs.