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star opens up Actor Stephen Rea opens up about marriage to former Provisional IRA member


Stephen Rea

Stephen Rea

Stephen Rea

Actor Stephen Rea opened up about his marriage to the late Dolours Price, a former Provisional IRA member.

Speaking on The Tommy Tiernan Show last night, Rea said that he had married someone who was very troubled.

“The North of Ireland was formed 100 years ago, 1920. It wasn’t meant to be a nice place for Catholics to live in,” he said. “It was meant to be a very uncomfortable place.”

“So when it came to 1950 and Dolours was born, it wasn’t too long since the state was formed, and you might have expected troubles. And for a sensitive person like her it was very tough.”

“She masked it very well at the beginning because she came out of prison.”

Ms Price spent over seven years in prison, and even took part in a hunger strike which ultimately came to an end after being force-fed. She was let out of prison in 1981 on humanitarian grounds.

“She came out of prison after eight years, and how could she be anything else but destroyed?” Rea said.

“We both wanted children. In the end we had two sons, which have brought me intense happiness.”

“And the great thing about the lockdown is that I’ve been in the house with the boys for a year, and it’s basically been great.”

Speaking more about the IRA, Rea said: “The modern IRA, the 1960-1969 thing, came out of the civil rights movement, we were all civil rights people.”

“And then when the attempted pogrom happened, all these guys were like ‘I’ve had it, I’ve had it’.”

“There were some people I knew that I grew up with. They didn’t come up from a Republican background or anything. Dolores did come from a very Republican background.”

Tiernan went on to discuss the concept of Irish unity with Rea, saying that: “My sense from the bits of work from what I do up North, is that we have so much in common with the Unionists.”

“We have an Irishness in common,” he said. “My sense of it is if we can tolerate people from Cork, we can live with the Unionists.”

Rea added that: “The Northern farmers know they want to stay in Europe, and it could work very well. I hope.”

Finally, the actor also discussed bringing some theatre to Derry city, saying: “You can put on plays anywhere and it can be a great production and everything but the context of where you put the play on is vitally important.”

“And in 1980 we restated theatre as a medium for change. Not because the plays were aggressively nationalist, but the story they were telling was to the right audience.”

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Online Editors