IBMT Ireland Secretary Manus O’Riordan writes:
On 11 September 2011, the Irish edition of News International’s Sunday Times carried the following report, with some differences noted between the early and later editions:
Queen's set for Nazi occupation (early edition) Queen’s doubles as Nazi base (later edition) Lorraine Wemyss
THE campus of Queen's University Belfast was festooned with Nazi insignias last week, when it was recreated as wartime Berlin for filming of a docudrama.
Queen's is one of the locations being used in the making of The Enigma of Frank Ryan, which will chart the career of the Irish republican who fought in the Spanish Civil War, was sentenced to death by Franco, and died in Germany in 1944.
The documentary is being produced by Professor Des Bell whose Queen's colleague, Fearghal McGarry, is the historical consultant.
Bell said: “With the right attention to design and period detail, Belfast with its fine mix of 1940s buildings in neo-classical style can create a believable picture of Berlin of the time.” McGarry said Ryan is a fascinating subject for a documentary because he remains a divisive figure. “On the one hand, he is widely admired by Irish republicans because he led the Irish contingent of the International Brigade in the fight against fascism in Spain. On the other, after his release from jail he ended his days as an adviser to German intelligence in wartime Germany.”
“Ryan's supporters argue that the IRA's alliance with Nazi Germany was purely tactical, and that he remains one of the greatest heroes of the Irish socialist republican tradition,” said McGarry. (2nd ed.)
Bell said: “What we are really trying to do is to present to the audience the kind of enigma that Frank Ryan was (both editions) — how he started out on the left and ended up working for fascism.” (1st ed. only)
Filming will take place in Spain, France and Germany and the documentary is intended to be released in time for next spring's festivals. Among the actors taking part are Dara Devaney, Barry Barnes, Arthur Riordan and Mia Gallagher.
The project received funding from TG4, the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and the Irish Language Broadcasting Fund of NI Screen and will be shot in Irish and English.
Comment: For my detailed refutations of Fearghal McGarry’s “Collaborator” charge in his book Frank Ryan (2002): See http://irelandscw.com/docs-RyanReview2.htm – History Ireland, Spring 2003; and http://irelandscw.com/docs-Ryan2.htm – Irish Literary Supplement (USA), Fall 2003; and http://irelandscw.com/org-RyanComm.htm – the International Brigade Memorial Trust’s commemoration ceremony at the grave of Frank Ryan, Dublin, October 2005; and http://www.indymedia.ie/article/81199?condense_comments=true&userlanguage=ga& save_prefs=true – Sunday Independent (Ireland), February 2007: and http://irelandscw.com/docs-KerneyReview.htm – History Ireland, March April 2007.