| 10.4°C Dublin

'forgotten force' 100 years after their disbandment, a new film delves into Royal Irish Constabulary

Hospital porter turned film producer has just released his second short

Close

RIC

RIC

RIC film

RIC film

David McCann with his new book, 'The Green Fella'.  Picture: Ronan McGrade Photography

David McCann with his new book, 'The Green Fella'. Picture: Ronan McGrade Photography

Sergeant Collins and  Inspector O'Callaghan

Sergeant Collins and Inspector O'Callaghan

/

RIC

Movie-maker David McCann is shining a spotlight on the forgotten force, the Royal Irish Constabulary.

The hospital porter turned film producer has just released his second short feature about the RIC to movie festivals around the world and hopes RTÉ will screen it.

He's also in talks with NI Screen about funding for a longer movie to mark the centenary of the RIC's disbandment next year and says he's surprised the story has been largely overlooked.

"They were called the forgotten force," says David.

"They were hated by nationalists and republicans, and unionists didn't trust them because they were Catholics, mostly from the south.

"They were caught between a rock and a hard place and had no friends anywhere.

"Most of the RIC officers were rank-and-file Catholic Irishmen in a British uniform."

David, from Enniskillen, says his interest in the force was kindled by his years as a Garda Reservist in Cavan, and the decision to make movies about the RIC came after he worked as an extra on TV series Blandings and film Mickybo and Me.

"Until Covid started I had done Saturday nights in Cavan town for ten years, mainly working in public order and Gaelic matches.

"I started taking an interest in the RIC when I was working there and reading every bit of research I could find."

He's carried on his full-time job as a porter in the South West Acute Hospital while writing his movie scripts, based around Sergeant Collins, stationed in Fermanagh and under attack from the IRA during the Irish War of Independence.

Close

David McCann with his new book, 'The Green Fella'.  Picture: Ronan McGrade Photography

David McCann with his new book, 'The Green Fella'. Picture: Ronan McGrade Photography

David McCann with his new book, 'The Green Fella'. Picture: Ronan McGrade Photography

After 100 years the RIC was disbanded in 1922 and replaced in the new Free State with the Civic Guard which became the Garda Síochána, and the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland. David has also written a novel about Collins, The Green Fella, following his life in the final two years of the force which he's now published as a paperback through Amazon Kindle.

His latest short film has the same name and follows the sergeant and his inspector as they pursue a gang of young IRA men, with the help of the Black and Tans and the Auxiliaries, a paramilitary wing of the RIC.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

"The Black and Tans were hated. The Auxiliaries were feared. They were soldiers from the Great War who were tough individuals. The came in and did what they wanted. They had a bad reputation and rightly so."

Close

Sergeant Collins and  Inspector O'Callaghan

Sergeant Collins and Inspector O'Callaghan

Sergeant Collins and Inspector O'Callaghan

David brought back actor Wayne Byrne to play the sergeant, who's also one of the leads in The Troubles - A Dublin Story, about two brothers in the 1980s who get drawn into gangsterism when they decide to help fund the IRA. Dublin actor Gerry Grimes returns as Inspector Callaghan.

After organising the shoot on his first film, this time he brought in Belfast production company Frontier Pictures, who filmed around Mullaghfad Forest and Bragan Bog. "It took a few weeks to get the whole thing in place and it was great to get the two main actors back again," he says.

"Frontier Pictures organised everything and they did a great job. The film is at the festivals at the moment and RTÉ have been looking at it."

The producer says he's surprised that there has been so little interest from other film-makers about the story of the RIC.

"I thought that someone else was going to beat me to the 100th anniversary of the disbandment in April 2022.

"No one else has and I thought I might as well see if I can get the film made and have something ready for next April."

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy