Ex prisoner on ‘Breakout’…

For a programme with very little political content the Breakout programme has generated a fair amount of controversy. Fair Deal’s dealt with Ann Marie Hourihane’s piece in today’s Irish Times. But Grassy Noel points in that thread to an excellent piece from ex Republican prisoner Anthony McIntyre who provides some ‘insider’ context on the main characters.


  • Ulsters my homeland

    Jesus, Anthony McIntyre even looks like you Mike, with the pre-Roman Britonic celtic cross in the back-ground.

  • Brian Walker

    Ms Houriane overdid the “golf club bore” riff. I found the film compulsive – how could it not be?
    Gerry Kelly recounting opening fire, Campbell Courtney being shot and his colleague dying after apparently taking only s surface wound. Of course it will have caused high emotion. For reshowing outside the NI audience, I would have cut the Colditz reference and employed the more usual flat commentary voice, and frontloaded it with a line of commentary on what the IRA prisoners were inside for, but little else. As soon as you start adding context where does it end? The producers were right to focus hard on the players’ revealing and riveting narrative.With their stories doubtless well honed the IRA veterans came across not as monsters with horns but as soldiers, I have to say. The prison officers’ bravery was remarkable, I could have done with one more prison officer witness but I would guess another as good wasn’t available. As somebody has observed, Gerry Kelly was hardly auditioning for the post of Justice Minister.
    Did the film glorify the IRA? The answer must be subjective and that’s a risk the BBC had to take. On the narrow point of the escape, for me it impressed but hardly to the extent of demoralising the State. Escapes happen and nearly were recaptured. If they can give lectures on the escape, a film was surely inevitable.

    Above all, ” Breakout,” the film itself and its public reception, are testimony to the fact that the Troubles are over. We would not have heard such a fluent account, nor would the film have had so little context a dozen, maybe even two years ago before full decommissioning. I think back 23 years to “Real Lives” the film about McGuinness and Campbell leading similar parallel lives in Derry which brought down a BBC Director General. “Breakout” dealt with the real nitty gritty and as far as I know, has been received without much public protest.

  • Brian. Ms Houriane dissaproves of masculinity.
    This was a docu about men-the prisoners and the Prison officers.
    It was about the bravery on all sides.
    She doesnt get it.

  • On Mick’s initial point-anthony McIntyre’s piece is thoughtful and considered.

  • Danny Boy

    Is it any bloody wonder so few commenters fess up to being female?

  • “It was about bravery on all sides’.

    The unarmed prison officers took on and overpowered armed men.

    Kelly shot an unarmed man at point blank range.

    Your starter for ten. Where here is bravery to be found?

  • El Paso

    Something you want to get off your chest, Danny?

    Nice summary Hugo, you’d wonder how a full length docu was fashioned from that snappy synopsis.

  • Sam Graham

    A bunch of sectarian murderers from the slums and dregs of society use smuggled pistols to escape from prison.

    What is all the fuss about.

    The most laughable comment was Gerry Kelly’s that he was concerned to get help for the prison officer he had attempted to murder in cold blood.

    Anthony McIntyre is living in cloud cuckoo land seeking to justify his south belfast sectarian hatred of Protestants as some “imperialist” struggle. Tony mate – just admit you hate the jaffas and wanted to kill as many of them as you could. A PhD from QUB allowing you to use bloated phrases like “vignettes” cannot mask that reality of Kingsmill, Shankill, Enniskillen et al.

  • Hugo-bravery on all sides of this.
    To escape from that prison was an act of bravery-as were the actions of the POs in the Tally Lodge.

  • Phil – I believe most people will be able to recognise who were the courageous individuals.

    Must say it is interesting to see the genesis of a republican myth-making process. I’ll give it a couple more years and the story will be it was the POs who had the guns; and the brave boys got out using only the force of their intellectual argument.

    El Paso – given that republicans can make art out of sh*t I’ve provided enough material for an entire mini series on TG4.

  • El Paso

    But didn’t the British Army on duty that day have weapons too? That they neglected to also bring their bullets shouldn’t detract from anyone’s bravery.
    Is that what all this hot air comes down to anyway? Who was the braver? Sssshhhh……

    “Given that republicans can make art out of sh*t”….better than the fundamentalist compulsion to make shit out of art, I suppose. Or just the plain gobsh*t art of Mr Stone.

  • Challenging republican myths is merely hot air? I beg pardon for failing to treat the Saintly Breakers with due reverence. If only they could have thought to have escaped by walking down the Lagan.

    I feel you do Michael a disservice. Surely he is on a par with the performance art of the ‘Dirty Protest’?