Monday 27 January 2020

Producers defend controversial jail break movie 'Maze' being filmed in Irish prison

Tom Vaughan Lawlor
Tom Vaughan Lawlor

Catha​l McMahon

The producers of a controversial prison escape movie have hit back at critics claiming the project is providing jobs and a boost to the economy.

Based on the 1983 escape of 38 IRA inmates, 'Maze' is currently being filmed in the old Cork prison and stars Love/Hate's Tom Vaughan Lawlor and Rebellion's Barry Ward

Earlier today Austin Stack, the son of murdered Chief Prison Officer Brian Stack, said he was "sickened to the core" that the Irish Prison Service (IPS) would be involved in such a project.

Commenting on the fact that one prison officer died during the escape and two others were shot and wounded, Mr Stack said: “No right thinking arm of the State should be involved in a project that will essentially glorify the death of a prison officer.”

However the movie's producers and the Irish Film Board have hit back at the comments in a joint statement released to this evening.

They said the Irish Prison Service (IPS) has a proven record in supporting the Irish filming industry through the provision of prison facilities for both fictional and non-fictional recording.

Maze Prison
Maze Prison

They claimed the project in Cork has been widely welcomed in the city for creating employment opportunities and providing investment in local business and services.

Jane Doolan, producer of the film, said the drama focuses on the relationship between an inmate and a prison officer and is essentially a story about peace.

She welcomed the involvement of the IPS: "Making this film would not be possible without the support of our financiers the Irish Film Board, RTE, Film Vast Sweden.

"The local assistance of Film in Cork and the Irish Prison Services has enabled us to keep the production in Ireland facilitated by the use of the decommissioned prison."

The Irish Film Board added: "We're very confident that the experienced team behind Maze will deal very sensitively with this story. The Irish Prison Services have a strong track history in supporting film and TV production where possible, which ensures Irish stories can be told realistically on screen.

"In supporting film production across the country​ they are also helping to create employment opportunities and encouraging investment in local business and services."

A spokesman for the Prison service also defended the decision to allow former Cork Prison be used as the location for the film.

"The IPS has a proven track record in supporting the Irish film industry through granting access to prison facilities.

"The project in Cork was providing employment opportunities and investments in local businesses and services."

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