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'You're only a smelly knacker' - Love/Hate actor John Connors reveals how childhood bullying helped inform character Patrick

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Love/Hate Series 5 Episode 4
Jake Ward as Brandon and John Connors as Patrick
RTÉ One
Episode 4 airs on Sunday October 26th

Love/Hate Series 5 Episode 4 Jake Ward as Brandon and John Connors as Patrick RTÉ One Episode 4 airs on Sunday October 26th

John Connors as Patrick and Neili Conroy as Kitty

John Connors as Patrick and Neili Conroy as Kitty

Kitty and Patrick come to little Brandon's aid as they realise what has happened 
Episode Four - Series Five 
Love/Hate - RTE

Kitty and Patrick come to little Brandon's aid as they realise what has happened Episode Four - Series Five Love/Hate - RTE

Patrick carries his little boy to the van which will take them to hospital. Viewers can see that Brandon has sustained a head wound
Episode Four - Series Five 
Love/Hate - RTE

Patrick carries his little boy to the van which will take them to hospital. Viewers can see that Brandon has sustained a head wound Episode Four - Series Five Love/Hate - RTE

John Connors and Neili Conroy who play brother and sister Patrick and Kitty in Love/Hate at RTE HQ, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

John Connors and Neili Conroy who play brother and sister Patrick and Kitty in Love/Hate at RTE HQ, Dublin. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Actor John Connors at The Olympia Theatre for Howie the Rookie

Actor John Connors at The Olympia Theatre for Howie the Rookie

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Love/Hate Series 5 Episode 4 Jake Ward as Brandon and John Connors as Patrick RTÉ One Episode 4 airs on Sunday October 26th

Actor John Connors believes it was “poetic justice” that his Love/Hate character Patrick was the one to take down gangster kingpin Nidge.

Speaking to Sean O’Rourke on RTE Radio 1, John, a member of the Travelling community, also said that the final episode of the fifth season was the right time for Nidge to go.

“I think the character was going too far if he had lived,” he said.  “As a writer Stuart would have been thinking about morally and the moral conscience and glamourizing it.”

John also felt that of all NIdge’s enemies, pipe-bomber Patrick was justified in his bloody revenge.

“It was poetic justice that Patrick was the one to put the nail in the coffin,” he said.  “He was the only gangster who had the right justifications really.”

Earlier in the series, Patrick broke the neck of Packy (Thomas Collins) in an act of vengeance after Packy shot his son whilst attempting to shoot Patrick.

John revealed he would “have done the same thing” had that happened to him in real life.

“You try to get into the character’s mindset and I understood his actions,” he said.

“ Although you’re trying not to judge a character either way whether you like him or not, I couldn’t help but understand why he was killing this person.  If I was in the same position I’d probably do the same myself. 

“He tried to put a bullet in his son’s head.  He’d already lost a son and was grieving and to almost lose his next, his one and only son, it was a huge thing. 

“And having him there in front of his eyes and an opportunity to take his life I can’t see him not killing him.”

Asked if he has ever felt that kind of anger, John revealed that he had, but had dealt with them through training as a boxer.

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“I kind of had anger issues as a kid.  I suppose I would have been fighting a lot.  We lived with a huge number of Traveller families around, a lot of kids my age, bullying, I was subjected to bullying myself and I developed anger issues from that and boxing dealt with that,” he said.

“It was physical bullying from fellas who were older.  The thing is with Traveller culture, when you’re brought up without a father, your father is the person who takes up for you, so it’s easier to be bullied when you don’t have a father.”

However, he added, “I felt a lot more angry being labelled a 'pikey' and a 'knacker' by settled people growing up. 

“When I was 12 years old a teacher said, 'You're only a smelly knacker'.  I said I’d tell and she said, ‘Nobody’s every going to believe you.  You’re a kid.’  I was able to get [the anger] out easy enough through fights.”

After six years of living in a house, John has decided to move back to his family’s campsite.

“I think because I’ve been years out of camp, 6 years, and I’ve had time to reflect on my childhood that I realise how important and how rich Traveller culture really is,” he said.

“My family are still living that sort of life so I’m moving back in to maintain my identity.”

However, John says he won’t move back until the camp has electricity, for which he says they have been waiting almost three years.

“We’ve been getting promised electricity past 3 years by a state institution I can’t name,” he said, adding, “They have to do something for us.  As I said, it’s third world conditions and Ireland is a first world country.”


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