Thursday 29 September 2016

'I earn about half of what I earned 20 years ago... but the job is the same'

Money talks: Andrea Irvine

Published 08/05/2016 | 02:30

Andrea Irvine reading at the Abbey Theatre Photo: Monika Chmielarz Photo: Monika Chmielarz
Andrea Irvine reading at the Abbey Theatre Photo: Monika Chmielarz Photo: Monika Chmielarz

Actress Andrea Irvine plays Garda Sergeant Angela Tyrell in TV3's crime drama, Red Rock.

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Angela, who grew up in Belfast, has forged a fruitful career on stage and screen. She has starred in successful TV series including Love/Hate and Line of Duty - as well as theatre productions such as Dancing at Lughnasa and Macbeth.

Red Rock, which is currently airing on TV3 on Wednesday and Thursday nights, centres around two feuding families.

What has your career as an actress taught you about money?

There are two ideas built into the word 'showbusiness'. 'Show' is the time, effort and commitment you invest to develop and evolve as an artist who will go on to produce creative, insightful, skilled work. 'Business' is the right to expect reasonable remuneration for that work. Just as in every other sector of society.

In the Nineties and Noughties, these rights to decent pay for a job well done have been vastly eroded. I now earn less than half of what I earned 20 years ago for a similar job.

You have two sons. What's the most expensive thing about raising children?

For us, it is no one thing - but everything together. Food, clothes, costs around education, activities and so on. It can seem endless.

Are you better off than your parents?

The sporadic nature of my work, especially since I had children, makes it difficult to compare. I know neither of my parents earned a big wage but it was regular and they seemed to get by fine. I also think the cost of living now is much higher.

Growing up in 1970's Belfast, we lived in a rent controlled housing executive house, we had universal healthcare in the NHS and my education was completely free from the age of 5 to 23.

Apart from property, what's the most expensive thing you have ever bought?

If we're talking in terms of non-essentials, I'd say my son's piano. At the time, I wasn't working and it was a big commitment to buy it when we couldn't be sure he'd even still be playing in a year. Seven years on, it's still there - and his playing is going from strength to strength. A great investment.

What was your worst job?

As a day player on a successful TV series. One of the lead actors missed a flight over from London and my scenes were put back till the end of the day. I waited in a pokey little caravan in a field for 11 hours, I missed my partner's birthday - and my takehome pay after deductions was pitiful. It was a moment for pause.

What was your biggest financial mistake?

In the mid-Nineties, I did a TV series and for a brief period I did have a lump sum of money. I wish now I'd invested it in a second property at a time when prices were on the increase - but before they went crazy. This may have helped to bolster the lean years when I was having kids.

What was your best financial killing?

Buying my house in 1997/8 just before the madness had fully kicked in.

Do you use any money saving apps?

What's a money saving app?

Do you know how much is in your current account?

Absolutely, every day!

Have you ever switched utility provider?

At the end of each year, we shop around and see who has the best deals.

Android or iPhone?

Android.

Itunes or Spotify?

I listen to radio a lot more. I was given a digital radio for my birthday which I love.

What was the last thing you bought online?

Groupon voucher for a pedicure.

Is the mortgage fixed, variable or tracker?

I have a mortgage, and it's variable.

Would you buy Irish property now?

Couldn't afford to.

Cash or card?

Card mostly. It's convenient.

Do you ever haggle?

I don't haggle so much but I have got much better at speaking up if I'm not happy with the service or quality of what I'm paying for.

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