Saturday 25 May 2019

'We really, really don't want to go back to that' - Line of Duty star Adrian Dunbar on Northern Ireland in the 70s and today

Adrian Dunbar (PA)
Adrian Dunbar (PA)
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Adrian Dunbar has spoken about living in Northern Ireland when he was younger and how people do not want to return to The Troubles in the wake of the death of journalist Lyra McKee.

The Line of Duty star grew up in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, before his family - parents and six younger siblings - moved to Portadown, where his father was from, for a period of five or six years in the early 70s.

Speaking to Miriam O'Callaghan on RTE Radio 1 on Sunday, he said it "wasn't a nice place to be at all" at that time.

"It was kind of an eye-opener because I wasn't quite aware of the sectarian nature of life in Northern Ireland having been brought up in Enniskillen which is a more liberal place to grow up than somewhere like Portadown," he said.

Ted (Adrian Dunbar), Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin) and Tranter (Natalie Gavin). PIC: BBC/World Productions
Ted (Adrian Dunbar), Carmichael (Anna Maxwell Martin) and Tranter (Natalie Gavin). PIC: BBC/World Productions

"But we returned to Enniskillen again and it was great to get back to Fermanage and the lakes and the people I'd grown up with.  [Portadown] was a very tough place to live at that point."

Adrian, who has just wrapped the fifth season of the hit BBC series Line of Duty, and will return for a sixth, possibly early next year, has a house in Leitrim and still has family in Enniskillen.

During his time living in Northern Ireland, however, it was Donegal which often provided an escape from The Troubles.

"As any northern nationalist will tell you, that bit when you crossed the border back in the bad old days was such a relief.  It was a difficult, difficult time that everybody lkived through.  We would hate to return to it," he said.

The 60-year old actor said that there are many "casualties" of The Troubles still living in Northern Ireland and dealing with the fallout.

"You could be at a party on a Saturday night and someone might break down because they’ve suddenly saw someone and they remember the last time they saw them and it was a very difficult situation.  You get things like that happening all the time," he said.

"There was definitely that feeling that it was great to get away in the summer, to go to a place that was experiencing peace and we were very jealous of that, of course, very jealous that our brothers and sisters in hte south and the Republic were getting on with their lives.

"And with what’s happening at the moment we don’t realy want to go back to all that stuff.  We’d really like to see that resolved so that maybe we can get on with our lives as well."

Addressing the recent death of young journalist Lyra McKee, the actor said it was a "really retrograde step" and "very, very disappointing that we suddenly found ourselves there again".

"How these things star is because there’s a political vacuum in the first place and into the vacuum steps someone or something.  So we have to be aware of that.  There’s a lot of young people growing up who might not be aware of what it was like," he said.

He added, "The Good Friday agreement is there so we can work through these things and remind one another just how bad it was."

"It’s surprising how quickly some people can forget," he said.

You can listen to the full interview on Sunday with Miriam on the RTE Radio 1 website.

Read more: Line of Duty season 5 finale review: 'Gripping, gruelling, nerve-shredding 85-minute finale'

Line Of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar: I’ll never have a better role than this 

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