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Brendan O’Donnell film for national cinema release

IT was the murder that shocked the nation – a mother, her child and a priest gunned down in an East Clare wood by a mentally-ill man, next week cinemas around the country will release a film exploring the life of the man behind these brutal killings.

Property of the State, a film brought to the screens by Mountshannon-based producers Terence Ryan and Susan Morrall, is told from the perspective of Ann Marie O’Donnell, the sister of Brendan O’Donnell, who carried out this atrocity in Cregg Wood, Whitegate, in 1994.

Ahead of the film release on October 27 in Ireland and the UK, Terence said it is a film that “needs to be seen”.

He said people were “shocked that we would make the film because, to them, it was something they wanted not to see, and not be part of, but once they had been to see the film, they changed their minds completely and realised how important it is as a film to do with mental health because that’s the essence of it”.

He explained that this film explores the young life of Brendan, the warning signals and how “no one ever tried to help him, all they could do was to pass him on”.

Terence continued, “The whole point of the film is to start people discussing mental health and to look at what happened to Brendan. As a filmmaker, you are always trying to give sympathy to the underdog but, when the underdog has killed people, that’s an impossibility.

“All we could do was give the facts throughout that period and the sympathy goes to his sister, who tried so hard to keep him from doing what he ended up doing. She had him committed but she has ended up suffering, as she gets blamed for what he did,” he said.

The film premièred at the Galway Film Fleadh in July 2016. Since then, it has been to international film festivals around the world, including America, Canada, India and Portugal, picking up various awards.

It won best film in show, best film and best director at the Emerge Film Festival in Maine and, on the back of that, it will now be screened at the New York Film Festival next month.

Property of the State comes to Empire Movieplex, Ennis, from October 27 for one week.


Carol Byrne

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