Longford emigrants upbeat over future prospects

The number of Longford emigrants flocking to British shores continues apace and many of these new Londoners attended the Longford Association Dinner Dance in Longford last week.

The number of Longford emigrants flocking to British shores continues apace and many of these new Londoners attended the Longford Association Dinner Dance in Longford last week.

Attracta Minnock is a case in point. Frustrated by the financial upheavals facing the local and wider economy, she opted to try her arm at the UK market with nursing her chosen profession.

“I filled out my CAO (Central Applications Office) form and got an interview with Thames Valley University,” she explained as last Friday night’s entertainment prepared to get under way.

That was almost two years ago and irrespective of having to leave her family and friends behind, the experience has been one she has grabbed with both hands.

“I am doing a six months placement and have one year left,” she revealed. “It’s been enjoyable and I’ve loved the nursing end of it as I just love looking after people.”

Tom Kane, a London born company director but with strong links to the Monaduff area of Drumlish in Co Longford, was intrigued by the deep-rooted connection that still exists between London and Co Longford. He was attending the event for the first time.

“This is my first time at this and it’s great to see so many people here,” he told the Leader. “I think that it’s also very important that the people of Longford come over and enjoy it.”

As diners took to the dancefloor spurred on by the lively “Slim Attraction” band, others opted to engage in quiet conversation and catch up on recent news.

One man who has slipped into London life with consummate ease is Aughnacliffe businessman, Mattie Lennon.

After leaving his north Longford home, more than 25 years ago, the Longford man had some words of advice for those looking to follow suit as economic uncertainties take hold.

“It was tough and I started looking first. That’s what you have to do. I started a business in 1964 and thankfully we are still going,” he said.

A stand out success in terms of making the Longford to London transition, Mr Lennon was unequivocal in summing up the secret for his success.

“It’s got competitive but that’s everywhere. What you have got to do is be willing to work hard,” he said as the evening drew to a calm but pleasant close.

Report and photographs, page 26