The former Ford employee who was 'bred, born and buttered on Ford money'

It's 75 years since Gus McLaughlin started at Ford - and the memories of a lifetime working with the motor manufacturer are as vivid as ever.

It was during World War II, in 1942, that Gus began working in Dagenham - the Cork plant virtually shut at the time due to wartime shortages.

“My father had been working in Ford in Dagenham, and I was a Ford man, you could say all my life.

"I was bred, born and buttered on Ford money and reared on it and married on it and I’m living on it still, so there you are. Ford was, you could say, my life, I have no doubt.

“I started in England as a boy," he recalled.

"I served a good and hard apprenticeship in Ford. I worked in almost every department of the factory in England, before I came back to Cork in 1948.”

The factory at the Marina was back up and running by then and Gus said: “I always lived within walking distance of the factory, and I made great friends down there. And Cork, of course, being a small place, everybody seemed to be related to everybody else. One crowd would be connected to another and all that. Everybody knew everybody."

Read more: Cork's Ford plant celebrated its 50th anniversary with a £2 million revamp in the 1960's

“The work was hard, but then that’s what we were born and reared into,"

Gus, who lives in Ballinlough, is now approaching 90 and says of the closure of the Marina plant in 1984: “I was shattered of course when the place closed. I was 60, which was a good time to retire, a good time to go.

"But what I missed was that the factory was not there after me as I could see it, or that the next generation of workers in Cork would not be able to work there.

“I raised my family, paid for my house and here I am today. The factory’s gone but I’m still hanging around."

 

Above audio clip interviews conducted by Miriam Nyhan Grey.

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