Gripping documentary on controversial IRA leader is on TV tonight 1 year ago

Gripping documentary on controversial IRA leader is on TV tonight

The film has received rave reviews.

The recent Irish film renaissance hasn't been confined to feature-length efforts as there have been some exceptional documentaries too, especially in relation to The Troubles.

Bobby Sands: 66 Days, A Mother Brings Her Son to be Shot, and The Image You Missed have all documented various aspects of The Troubles and life in Northern Ireland during this tumultuous period, but a documentary based on the life of Dolours Price, directed by Maurice Sweeney, tells a very different tale.

Premiering tonight - Monday 10 June - at 9.35pm on RTÉ One, I,Dolours is a cinematic yet intimate and complex portrait of Dolours Price, a militant IRA activist, hunger striker and dissident Republican who, two years before she died, gave a filmed interview on condition that it would not be broadcast in her lifetime.

In an interview with The Irish News, Price admitted to being involved in the murder of Jean McConville, one of the so-called 'Disappeared', who were abducted, murdered and secretly buried by republicans during the Troubles.

McConville was a mother of 10 from west Belfast who was abducted and killed by the IRA in 1972. More than 30 years after her death, her body was found buried on a beach in Louth in 2003.

Price, who died in 2013, was ultimately jailed for her part in the IRA bombing of London's Old Bailey in 1973.

The documentary aims to bring viewers deep inside the IRA and charts one woman’s journey from passionate idealist into disillusioned cynic, haunted by the memories of the terrible things she did for a cause she once so strongly believed in.

Before its release last year, RTÉ stated that the film is "by some distance, the most disturbing film of the year. It is also one of the best".

The Irish Times hailed it as "absolutely essential", while The Belfast Telegraph described Maurice Sweeney’s film as "a powerful, disturbing and honest story".

In fact, the same review said that "of all the films that have been made about the IRA in recent years, this is by far the most powerful, honest and disturbing".

Here's the trailer along with a brief background on how the documentary came to fruition.

Clip via Element Pictures Distribution

Journalist Ed Moloney is a producer on the film and he spoke a little bit about the film's origins, his conversations with Price, and his own personal involvement in making I, Dolours.

"The origins of this film on the life of the late Dolours Price, directed by Maurice Sweeney, lie in an interview that she gave to the Belfast daily, The Irish News, in which she spoke, for the first time publicly, about her part in the saga of the IRA ‘disappeared’" Moloney said.

"That interview set in motion a cascade of crises that culminated in an agreement between herself and myself in which she made a promise not to reveal any more about the ‘disappeared’. In return she would record her story on tape and video and it would not see daylight until she died. That way the truth could eventually be told without causing harm to herself.

"I have always believed that one event in particular pushed Dolours Price over the edge. In late 2009, the Belfast daily, The Irish News, reported that the IRA had lied when it had admitted ’disappearing’ people during the Troubles. A list of victims prepared by the organisation, the paper reported, was incomplete.

"Missing was Joe Lynskey, the IRA’s chief of intelligence in Belfast and the first ‘disappeared’ victim to be driven across the Irish Border by Dolours Price. Joe Lynskey was a friend of Dolours Price. He believed utterly in the IRA, believed he had been rightly sentenced to death and went willingly with Dolours across the Border. He could have escaped but didn’t. I think the reminder of all that disturbed her intensely and led to the next fateful step."

Film fans will get to make up their own minds when I,Dolours premieres on RTÉ One tonight - Monday 10 June - at 9.35pm.