A SELF-confessed convicted thief has told how taking part as an extra in RTE's award-winning crime drama 'Love/Hate' brought back memories of being in "trouble" in his youth.
Richard Bourke (30), from Finglas East, Dublin, who told the Irish Independent he had been convicted for theft, said he had turned his life around from his early years when he stood trial for the murder of 43-year-old civil servant Brian Fitzpatrick. Mr Bourke was acquitted.
The father of four said he enjoyed taking part in the action filmed on the set of the gritty drama in Finglas, O'Devaney Gardens and in Dolphin's Barn. "It is very lifelike, it is so true to life now," he added.
The broadcaster has come under fire for graphic scenes in the gritty drama – including rape and drug taking – but it has proved a major crowd puller with more than 630,000 people tuning into the first episode of the third series.
RTE last night refused to confirm if protocols for hiring extras would be reviewed after it emerged people with court convictions had been taken on for minor roles in the drama.
A spokeswoman for RTE said all extras on RTE dramas were supplied by reputable casting agencies or directly by the production company.
"Extras are selected on the basis of their suitability for the part. All extras must supply a PPS number and adhere to health and safety, security and child-protection laws while working on RTE-commissioned productions," she stated.
"It was just through a friend of a friend. I got a phone call asking if I wanted a bit of work," Mr Bourke, who took on a non-speaking part of a drug dealer, said. "I did a few different shoots. It was good experience."
Mr Bourke said taking part and watching the show resurrected memories.
"It wouldn't really bring back memories of the trial itself but other parts of my life when I was a teenager getting into trouble," he said. "It is very lifelike. That is what makes it so good, I think. People think it is too graphic but that is the stuff that goes on."
Mr Bourke said he had turned his life around and was now in the first year of a course at Blanchardstown Institute of Technology and hoped to work in the IT industry.
"I think everyone deserves a second chance in life. I've been given a second chance," he said.