Mick was born in Fitzgibbon St before his family moved to Ballyfermot. He is the third eldest of seven children. Whilst living in Ballyfermot, his eldest sister Breda dies of pneumonia aged nine years old. The tragedy marked the family and effected his father in particular, they then decided to move to Sheriff Street. The family acquired a flat at 34, Phil Shanahan House. Micks Grandfather and father both worked for the B&I, his grandfather Daniel owned a dockers button which was passed on to Mick’s father.
During his teens Mick got involved in politics and was recruited into a community group called the Tutorial Group, an after-school’s programme, providing children with drama groups and bringing them to Liberty Hall, where they performed on stage. He also ran another drama group in our local playground. This activity was very important in building children’s self -esteem and giving them a voice. Mick has worked tirelessly as a community worker all of his life.
Mick remembers Matties as an “Emporium of Sweetness”. He can still name all of the varieties of childhood sweets that gave him and his siblings and other children so much pleasure. The joy of the sweetshop provided a welcome break from the struggles of everyday life in a marginalised and working-class community. He recalls the shop also sold house-hold essentials for families living in the area. He has memories of my father always supporting community fund raising events with the provision of spot prizes in the form of boxes of chocolates.
He recalls the impact of the collapse of the docks and the withdrawal that the ancillary businesses had on the local area. The economic impact happened at lightning speed, no one could have predicted the devasting impact which required major adaptation on behalf of the community.
Mick continues to work for his community on the boards of the Five Lamps Arts Festival, Fire Station Arts Studio and collaborates with others in helping them tell their stories in the Uncut Diamonds Drama Group.