Friends and filmmakers Treasa O’Brien and Mary Jane O’Leary were among the many Irish who emigrated following the catastrophic financial crash of 2008. Now they’re home – and curious to know why as a nation the Irish have an apathy, or even an antipathy, towards protest.
O’Brien and O’Leary take their cameras on a road trip across Ireland, confidently blending archival footage, stylish visual essay and interviews in a bid to unravel why, compared to our European neighbours, we seem so accepting of debt and austerity. There are strong insights from sociologists, from protesters, but from everyday people too, as the filmmakers hear the views of concertgoers and GAA fans. The title is inspired, a reference to Jonathan Swift’s satire, A Modest Proposal, in which poor families sell their youngest children to wealthy landlords. The implication? By acquiescing to the banks, the bondholders and the bean-counters, the Irish are selling out generations to come.
It’s a smart, rousing film about the public right to express righteous anger. And in a year where the power of dissent has come to the fore, it is absolutely timely.
Please note that the festival is for over 18s only