Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Based on a true story

Ireland had been Britain's oldest unsolved colonial problem. By the beginning of the 20th century, the British political establishment decided it was time to get out of Ireland entirely: militarily, politically and psychologically. But the Protestants in the northeastern part of the country wanted to remain British, so the best Britain could do was to partition the island of Ireland.

Northern Ireland was created by the Government of Ireland Act in 1920 and consists of six counties.

The Republic of Ireland is the official description of the sovereign state that includes the entire island of Ireland except for the province of Northern Ireland. It’s official state name is Ireland.

The United Kingdom (often referred to simply as Britain) is a constitutional monarchy comprising a political union of four entities: the three countries of England, Scotland and Wales plus the province of Northern Ireland. In addition, the UK has several overseas territories including Gibraltar and the Falkland Islands.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary (the RUC) became the police force of Northern Ireland.

The Provisional Irish Republican Army (more commonly referred to as the IRA) was founded in 1969. Its stated aim has been the unification of Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland as a single sovereign state entirely independent of the United Kingdom. They believed this could only be achieved by an armed campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland. The IRA has been outlawed and classified as a terrorist group in the Republic of Ireland, in the United Kingdom and in many other countries including the United States.

Sinn Féin (pronounced shin-fin) has been a series of political movements in Ireland since 1905. It is the largest group of Irish nationalism and is the political wing of the IRA. They take care of propaganda, raising funds, and speaking on behalf of the movement.

The Troubles is a generic term used to describe a period of sporadic communal violence in Northern Ireland involving the IRA, the RUC and the British from the late 1960s until the mid-1990s.

The Democratic Unionist Party is a right wing party in Northern Ireland established by Ian Paisley in the 1970’s. Its membership is overwhelmingly Protestant.

The Real Irish Republican Army is a paramilitary organisation, otherwise known as the Real IRA, founded by former members of the IRA who opposed any cease-fire and the acquiescence to the terms outlined in the Good Friday Agreement.

The Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the Northern Ireland peace process. It was signed in Belfast on April 10, 1998 (Good Friday) by British and Irish governments and endorsed by most Northern Ireland political parties. The Democratic Unionist Party is the only large party that opposed the Agreement. Both governments were careful not to “rock the boat” in the early months following the Agreement for fear of having both parties revert back to a state of conflict. Consequently they were not enthusiastic about following up on information provided by informants or even persecuting those responsible for any “isolated act of violence”, such was their desire to not upset the delicate peace process.

Omagh (pronouced oh-mah) is a a small town in Northern Ireland with a population of about 25,000.

Gerard McSorley: auto mechanic Michael Gallagher
Michèle Forbes: his wife Patsy
Paul Kelly: their 21-year-old son Aiden
Pauline Hutton: their oldest daughter Sharon
Fiona Glascott: their youngest daughter Cathy
Jonathan Ryan: Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams
Brenda Fricker: the police ombudsman

Acts of violence demand answers: among them, who are the perpetrators and what is being done to capture them. Sometimes it takes the efforts of a small group of people to pursue this endeavour, not always with great success. And that’s what the movie is all about. The story is one that needs to be told.
Making extensive use of hand-held cameras, grainy images and poor lighting, it feels like we are watching a documentary. The acting throughout is excellent, particularly by McSorley.

for an intense scenes of terrorist violence, disturbing images and brief strong language.

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