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‘Powerful and thought-provoking’ – Doherty commends Donegal-based film

John O'Brien in Brussels, October, 2011.

John O’Brien in Brussels, October, 2011.

SINN Féin Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has praised Donegal-based film ‘A Turning Tide in the Life of Man: i mBéal na Stoirme’, describing it as a ‘powerful and thought provoking piece of cinema’.

Deputy Doherty made his comments following the film’s official launch which took place on Friday at Árainn Mhór Community Centre.

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Directed by French film-maker Loic Jourdain, the movie is told from the view point of islander John O’Brien and documents the story of local fishermen as they embark on a long and arduous campaign to protect and defend their industry and regain their fishing rights.

“I was delighted to have been invited here today to this, the launch of what is a truly remarkable story, and one so masterfully captivated through the medium of film.”

“However, this is more than simply just a piece of motion picture or indeed a mere captivating tale: this is about a journey; a remarkable quest fuelled by the conviction and determination of one man and his desire for fairness, equality and recognition from what are often times an all too powerful elite – the movers and shakers who’s decision making stands to undermine a people, their heritage as well as their unconventional yet fascinating way of life. I am of course referring to the film’s chief protagonist, John O’ Brien, who hails from Inis Bó Finne.

“John was born and raised on the island. In the opening few minutes of the film, standing on the pier of Inis Bó Finne, he reveals to us that it was here on this very spot that he took his first steps, and where he landed his first salmon – a fish which he states is woven deep into the fabric of island life, both past and present.”

“In fact, references to the island’s maritime tradition both steadily and unashamedly infiltrate the narrative, seamlessly intertwining with the story of the present day struggle upon which this film is based.”

“We hear anecdotally of how at the tender age of eleven, John began fishing the waters of the island with his father and elder brothers. Enthusiastically, he regales us with the various technics which generations of islanders employed whilst fishing these waters, as he calls the respect for what he terms ‘the natural rhythm of the species’ to which they all adhered. It is this humble and unassuming backdrop which ultimately makes John this story’s unlikely hero.”

“Faced with the prospect of having to surrender all that he knew, John is forced to abandon the very trade which for generations both sustained and enveloped his ancestral homestead.

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“John is visibly anxious. Past experiences of outside influence on island life leaves him to concede that ‘on the island, we’ve learned to accept things and to keep quiet: to give in again and again. However, unwilling to simply lie down, John decides to take a stand.”

“Embarking on a mission to protect the rights of not just himself or indeed those of his family, but the rights and freedoms of small fishing communities right across Europe, we follow John as his campaign takes him on a journey across Europe, as he travels across the continent in a bid to protect these livelihoods threatened by a distant power, indifferent as well as unaware of the suffering their decisions now stand to create.

“Throughout the film, we witness the voyage which John undertakes as part of this campaign. We view the many highs and lows which he encounters along the way, and despite his journey taking him to destinations such Brittany’s Isle of Yeu, Ajaccio off the Corsican coast, and to the corridors of power in the Belgian Capital, thoughts of home – and the community which he loves so dear – are never far from his mind.”

“Unsurprisingly however, it’s these same thoughts of home which serve as inspiration for him to continue on this long and arduous battle: ever mindful of his own words when others may have questioned the probity of his argument;

“Níl muid ag cuardach airgead; tá muid ag iarraidh a bheith ag iascaracht bradáin, mar ár n-áthair agus ár n-áthair móra agus ár sinséar romhainn…’”

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