Monday 21 May 2018

'Red Rock drug storyline reflects real life in Dublin' - Andrea Irvine

Red Rock on TV3: Gardai Angela Tyrell (Andrea Irvine) and Sharon Cleere (Jane McGrath) on a house call
Red Rock on TV3: Gardai Angela Tyrell (Andrea Irvine) and Sharon Cleere (Jane McGrath) on a house call
Melanie Finn

Melanie Finn

Red Rock actress Andrea Irvine has said said she thinks the current storyline featuring her on-screen son’s struggles with heroin is reflective of the is very contemporary as the drug poses such a huge problem the drug poses in Dublin.

The Belfast native, who plays Garda Sergeant Angela Tyrell in the TV3 soap, said she’s often left shocked at the scenes around the north inner city.

“Dublin shocks me because I work in and out of the Abbey Theatre and in the Lab on Foley Street and that whole area is rife with people off their heads, totally wrecked,” she told the Herald.

“You can just see them pushing buggies with kids and they’ve obviously just shot-up and there’s that thing where they slowly, slowly collapse.

“It never ceases to amaze me. I don’t know enough about drugs policy, but it’s staggering to see. Heroin addiction seems to have hit Dublin so hard.”


As a mum of two boys herself – Harry (11) and Joseph (14) – she also feels huge sympathy for her character’s plight as she grapples with her son Conor going back on heroin.

“It’s so hard to see your child in pain. We still live in a society where it’s terribly stigmatised – a lot of it still happens behind closed doors,” she said.

“There’s also the threat of a criminal conviction and the worry that your reputation will be in tatters.”

She said that her character also has the added pressure of trying to hide her son’s drug addiction from her garda colleagues.

“This season, there has been a great focus on Angela, in and around all this drugs stuff. You really start to see it impact in series two on her work as the two worlds start to collide.

“Now her home life is spilling into her work life, so that’s interesting to play.”

She hinted that there’s also big things in store for her station colleague, Detective Nikki Grogan, played by Valerie O’Connor.

Speaking about the strong writing in the Ifta-winning series, she paid tribute to Kim Revill, saying she is “just fantastic”.

“She has a great eye on what’s going in a contemporary woman’s life. She’s not defining women as being side-kicks,” she said.

“Instead of playing mammies and wives, she’s putting them at the centre of their own storylines.”


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