Mrs Brown’s Boys' Eilish O’Carroll recounts the discrimination she faced after emigrating to the UK

 The Winnie McGoogan actress left Ireland to move to England in the 1970s and recalls the unfair treatment she experienced before starring alongside her brother Brendan in Mrs Brown’s Boys

Eilish O'Carroll and her partner Marian O'Sullivan (Image: Ramona Farrelly)

Eilish O’Carroll opened up about the discrimination she faced after emigrating to the United Kingdom in the 1970s.

She recalled being turned away for jobs and refused apartments as people made fun of her name.

However, she now experiences the opposite as she says starring in the hit comedy series Mrs Brown’s Boy is a whole other world.

Speaking to RSVP Live, Eilish shared that she found that people’s attitudes towards her changed when they realised where she was from.

“I went to look at a flat and as soon as he realised I was Irish, he said I couldn’t have it.

“Another time, I applied for a job which was a secretarial post. The man interviewing me was awfully nice and then he just asked, ‘Excuse me, is that an Irish accent I can hear?’

"I said ‘Yes’ and he said ‘Don’t bother’.”

Her first job in England was as a GPO telephonist which she says she “found strange” to get in the first place.

“I’m sure they meant no offense but a lot of people would say call me ‘Irish’ because my name is Eilish. Then they started calling me Paddy, thinking that it was okay.

“I said, ‘Look if you can’t call me Eilish, would you please call me by my second name, Siobhan? I would very gently make the point.”

As more immigrants arrived in the UK, the actress shares that it slowly became better for the Irish but she still found herself being discriminated against.

“There were a lot of other immigrants coming over because they had British passports and they were entitled to be there. They had a really hard time.

“I used to find that when we were doing any workshops in work, all the ethnic groups were put together, whether it was by design or not, I’m not certain. I was in these groups.”

She explained that back then you couldn’t report what was happening but as equality laws were introduced, it began to slowly change.

However, Eilish now stars in the massively popular comedy series Mrs Brown’s Boys which airs on BBC One.

She says that being part of the show is a very different experience for her compared to the days after she first emigrated.

“It was a totally different experience because it’s absolutely huge in the UK.”
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