VIDEO: Poignant tribute to former Waterford Crystal staff

A bleak and dreary landscape is all that is left of the once renowned Waterford Crystal plant outside the city that gave it its name.

VIDEO: Poignant tribute to former Waterford Crystal staff

What was for decades the pride of the country is now nothing more than a wasteland, and the remnants of a once thriving industry resemble an unkempt graveyard. Ongoing demolition has made parts of the buildings which housed the glass-making plants look like they have been struck by a tsunami.

The original disaster came five years ago for the 1,500 workers when they learned that not only were their jobs gone, but most of their pensions with it.

Among them was John Keane whose struggle since has galvanised his daughter, Jenna, to make a poignant video tribute to him and his co-workers.

She uses sepia tones to convey the sense of pain, despair, and desperation that former Waterford Crystal workers have experienced.

“I worried that it would be difficult for them,” says Jenna, a journalism student at Dublin Institute of Technology. “I have watched my father struggle. We are talking about men that knew of nothing else only their commitment to a service, their joy in their work and their part in a once-thriving community.”

It was, she says, an emotional journey for all involved. “Bringing up the past is never easy, especially when it is part of their present and, for some, their future. People tell them to ‘let it go’, how can they? It’s very much like a death. A death of a life, a purpose, a place.”

The Aftermath of Waterford Crystal video project features four former staff: John Keane, Michael O’ Neill, Richard White, and Paul Mahon. It reached 2,000 views within a couple of hours throughout various online platforms.

The influential BBC broadcaster Trevor Dann shared his personal reaction with Ms Keane, describing it as “very poignant... I remember that story, another shameful episode”.

The video is the beginning of a project that Jenna hopes will continue in the coming weeks.

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