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The Truth Commissioner film scene 'unknowingly' shot outside Gerry Adams' home

By Malachi O'Doherty

Published 27/02/2016

Actors Conleth Hill (left) as Press officer Johnny Rafferty and Sean McGinley as Francis Gilroy
Actors Conleth Hill (left) as Press officer Johnny Rafferty and Sean McGinley as Francis Gilroy
Norfolk Drive in west Belfast, where Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has a home
Gerry Adams
David Park

Could it really be an accident? The producers say it was. They were shooting a scene in a new film, The Truth Commissioner, in which a Sinn Fein minister - also the party leader - is leaving his home to be driven to Stormont.

Where would they choose to film such a scene? Surely they would opt for somewhere in west Belfast - perhaps one of the nicer, more accessible parts?

They chose Norfolk Drive in the older part of Andersonstown, which has a certain faded elegance, perhaps because there was little traffic to bother them and less risk of children swarming round them since, if there were any children about, they would be in the park up the street.

But they didn't know - or they say they didn't know - that they were filming this scene outside the home of the real Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams.

Eoin O'Callaghan, who wrote the script, says this marvellous coincidence was just pointed out to them when they were at the scene. O'Callaghan added: "He didn't invite us in for tea." But, then, he is a busy man and he moves around a lot.

This was not the only fortuitous coincidence in the film.

One of the characters, played by Conleth Hill, bears a striking resemblance to the real-life person he is based on - Sinn Fein Press officer Richard McAuley. There is the portly manner, the grey hair, the black coat.

Hill asked: "Who is Richard McAuley?" He says he has never heard of him.

The Truth Commissioner - based on the novel by David Park - explores the possibility of an inquiry into the past uncovering evidence that a Sinn Fein minister was involved in murder.

In the tradition of the complex political thriller, there are machinations behind the machinations as republicans and British intelligence operatives seek to preserve their agendas against the disruption a full disclosure might cause.

Too close to truth for comfort? Apparently not.

As part of the film was shot in Stormont, the entire script had to be approved by the First and Deputy First Ministers.

So Martin McGuinness got to read it before filming - and gave it the thumbs-up.

Now, what are we to read into that?

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