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We don't glamorise gangs -- it's just real life, says TV star

THE star of RTE drama 'Love/Hate' has denied that the series glamorises criminal gangs.

The Irish Independent has learned that RTE have already re-commissioned 'Love/Hate' for a second series which will begin shooting early next year.

But Robert Sheehan, who has faced criticism for being too handsome to play a tough gangland figure, said the programme simply reflected the reality of life in some parts of the country.

"It's quite weird and strange but there are guys in Ireland going around with guns," Sheehan told the Irish Independent. "These people exist, they sell drugs and they kill each other. It seems to be a way of life for them more than anything else. That's what our show reflects. I think if anybody has boosted gangland criminals, it's probably the media who write about them continually."

The 22-year-old laughed off criticism of cast members as "easy-on-the-eye gangsters".

"That has to be dismissed right out as ridiculous. It's like saying Leonardo Di Caprio is too good looking to be in 'Gangs Of New York'," he said.

Written by Stuart Carolan, the four-part series -- which concludes tomorrow night -- has been one of RTE's recent successes with 475,000 tuning in last Sunday.

Sheehan said he was delighted at both critical and audience reaction to the series.

"I'm proud the show has gone down well. Personally I think the key is that it's so well written. That's what makes it so gripping, along with everyone's performance," he said.

The Portlaoise man, now based in London, revealed part of the research for playing his gangster role included looking at tributes to dead criminals on social networking sites.

"We did a fair bit of Facebooking and browsing of bebo which we made reference to in the show. Reading these pages gives you another insight of what it is like to be these guys. The messages their families leave on these pages would indicate they were saints in the eyes of their families, even if they lost their lives in gang-related situations," he added.

Beginning his career in 2003 in the Irish film 'Song For A Raggy Boy', Sheehan became hot property in Britain last year in E4 comedy drama 'Misfits', as well as appearing in Channel 4's acclaimed dark trilogy 'Red Riding'.

Irish Independent