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tough act Smother star reveals his anguish at having to violently hit on-screen son in RTE drama

Actor believes such incidents have exploded in real life due to cabin fever tensions in lockdown homes

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Lochlann Ó Mearáin plays Rory in the RTÉ hit series

Lochlann Ó Mearáin plays Rory in the RTÉ hit series

Lochlann Ó Mearáin plays Rory in the RTÉ hit series

SMOTHER actor Lochlann Ó Mearáin today reveals his distress at his character Rory Dwyer having to violently hit his son Callum in the RTÉ show.

And Lochlann believes such incidents have exploded in real life due to cabin fever tensions in lockdown homes.

"We tried to make it as real as possible," he explains about the assault. "It was quite a heavy backhanded slap in a public place, it's difficult. It's really hard to apologise for something like that, it's really not acceptable.

"I know it's a coming-of-age thing for a lot of young boys, that tension builds up between a son and a father, it's a natural enough thing, of the boy turning into a man."

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Lochann as Rory

Lochann as Rory

Lochann as Rory

Lochlann believes domestic violence in Irish homes has increased due to lockdown.

"Lockdown was really good for me, but not for everyone. We will probably learn of some of the abuses that people lived with," he points out.

"But it happens in families. It's a lot less acceptable now, but no doubt it can happen. Not to say that Rory was an abusive person but it is a thing that happens."

Lochlann also had to research cancer and brain tumours as his character has a terminal illness from the deadly disease.

"I don't think any family in Ireland has escaped cancer in any whatever shape or form it takes," he reflects.

"I did a lot of research on it. You have to have a really planned out level of deterioration.

"Obviously one of the first symptoms was the change in behaviour caused by constant migraines. So Rory's decline is pretty rapid."

James O'Donoghue (17), who plays Callum, admits he has encountered bullying and abusive teenagers in real life.

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Lochann with James in middle

Lochann with James in middle

Lochann with James in middle

"I think Callum is definitely similar to what you might get in certain places, there are definitely people out there that are troubled and do have problems."

James is currently studying in CBC Monkstown, Co. Dublin.

"We are a rugby school and I do play a bit of rugby," he explains."I'm juggling my education and filming. "I found it quite hard."

He is already planning for life after school.

"I would love to head over to the States," he reflects."I was actually born there. I'd like to go to college there. Paul Mescal has been a huge inspiration for me and Normal People has been a big thing."

Asked if he's attracted a lot of attention since appearing on Smother, he replies with a smile: "I wouldn't say inundated but there definitely has been a mixed feed."

Dubliner Lochlann lives in Co. Mayo and has had some funny feedback to his role.

"I was down in the hardware and a fellow was calling me names, saying 'you're an awful fellow altogether'," he chuckles.

• Smother is on RTÉ1 tonight at 9.30pm.

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