Documentary about Gentex factory will be replayed on Athlone Community Radio 88.4fm and is available now on a mixcloud
There will never be a place of work in Athlone which will mean so much to so many people.
The four part documentary Gentex – The Factory that shaped the life of Athlone will be replayed every Tuesday from 6:00 to 6:30 from 30th of September 2014 on Athlone Community Radio 88.4fm. In this slot every Tuesday for the next four weeks the half an hour documentary will be played and will be repeated every Sunday from 4pm, starting on October 5th . It is also available on a mixcloud
The documentary about the famous factory is an Athlone Community Radio Production with the support of The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, Sound and Vision broadcasting initiative. Every half an hour programme covers specific themes; the first week is about the famous factory horn, Belgians who worked and lived here in 1930’s, and the influence of P. J. Lenihan, the second programme is about the work at the textile machines and the Constellation Sheets while the last two are relating to the Sport and Social aspect around Gentex and the legacy of this famous factory.
This documentary was made throughout the year with the recording of oral history from twelve contributors well known to Athlone: Patsy Beamont, Mary O’Rourke, Eileen O’Connor Collins, Patrick Sweeney, Mary Gorman, Betty Curtin, Catherine Roper, Tony Casey, Betty Kelly, Norrie Westman, Pauline Rattigan, Martin Moore and Patsy Warby. The historical facts were covered through informative script written and read by the Gearoid O’Brien. The interviewer, editor and producer is Irena Cvetkovic. After hearing this testimony you will realise that for many Gentex was the beating heart of Athlone and these programmes are dedicated to all those who worked for the company over its lifetime. There will never be a place of work in Athlone which will mean so much to so many people.
‘Gentex – the very name conjures up so much for so many…a happy work-force, regular pay-packets, an abundance of work, excellent camaraderie and the opportunities to play and to learn. Friendships were forged here, matches were made and many families grew up in houses provided by the factory. Gentex was much more than a mere place of work – it was an institution – there will never be anything quite like it again. It was for Athlone what Guiness was for Dublin’ – part of the script written by Gearoid O ‘Brien.
Gentex was a purpose built cotton manufacturing plant which started production in Athlone in 1938. In the aftermath of the devastating fire in Athlone Woollen Mills in November 1940, when over 500 industrial jobs were lost, many of the skilled and semi-skilled workers looked to Gentex for employment. By the 1950s Gentex had become a household name, not just locally but nationally and internationally.
Gentex was an enlightened employer they cared not only about creating a top quality product but they realised also that their workforce was their greatest asset. The welfare of their workers was of paramount importance. ‘ as written by Gearoid O Brien.
According to Irena Cvetkovic, the interviewer, editor and producer
‘These programmes are valuable part of Athlone’s oral history. What amazed me during the production was that all contributors have such a high regard towards Gentex even though they had to start work at 14 years of age, give most of their wages to the family and work really hard. They were different times but it is important that it is recorded not just as a memory but as a good insight to past life for future generations.’
Athlone Community Radio 88.4fm broadcast from 4pm -8pm during the week and from 12pm -8pm on the weekends. It is non-profit, community orientated organisation. Volunteers are always welcome, just phone us on 090 6490722.