Maurice Sweeney

Q&A with Maurice Sweeney – Director & Writer

 

When did you first become aware of Dolours Price?

I was approached by the Producer, Nuala Cunningham on a similar project that never got off the ground. It was also a story set amidst the Troubles in Northern Ireland. When that passed, Nuala mentioned the possibility of getting our hand on a taped interview that Ed Moloney had carried out . From the first mention, I was hooked and felt there was an amazing story.

What was it about her story that drew you to this project?

I suppose it skirted the usual narrative of The Troubles. The story existed in a grey area. It forced you to think differently about the roles people played in their lives and the actions that they carried out. I also think it struck at the very core of why individuals do things in different circumstances. It also made you face something uncomfortable and I think that is a very important thing in factual filmmaking.

The film contains no other contributors except her – what was the reasoning behind this approach?

Initially, we had wanted to interview people, but there was a sense that nobody wanted to talk. So while being forced into an approach, it was a style that we embraced and I think made a virtue of. There is a sense of confession, but also an undeniable theme of what violence does to those who receive it but also carry it out. There is something lost and I think through the one voice that comes across very powerfully.

How would you respond to those who would say that convicted terrorists should not be given a platform like this to tell their story?

My role is not to judge but to give voice to arguments, humanity and story. I feel people are wise enough to be able to confront uncomfortable truths. Documentary is a space where those ideas can be explored, not inhibited.

Did you have any qualms about taking on such a controversial and sensitive subject?

No

Why tell this story now?

I feel the story of radicalisation and people becoming politicised has never been more important. I was reminded of a quote from somewhere” Monsters do not commit monstrous acts”. That resonated with me. I also feel we are at a point in  Ireland where we are freer to react to the era of The troubles.