THE STARS OF a new RTÉ crime drama have said they hope the show will help start a conversation in Ireland about the direct provision system for immigrants.
The fictional series centres around the investigation into the violent death of a young Nigerian migrant whose body was found close to a direct provision centre. The creative team behind Love/Hate, including writer Stuart Carolan, are joined by best-selling novelist Jo Spain have been working on the show.
Senagalese born French actress Aïssa Maïga plays the character Abeni, a migrant from Nigeria who travelled to Ireland with her two children and who has been living in a direct provision centre for eight years.
“She doesn’t know when it’s going to end and she’s a single mother who struggles for life and for her children,” she told TheJournal.ie at the launch of RTÉ’s new season yesterday.
I think it’s going to open a conversation about how people in Ireland are able or not to welcome immigrants. To me as a French woman with an African descent it’s very interesting, the perspective from Ireland, because people here have been immigrants for centuries so the sensitivity to this issue is totally different.
“To hear people on set and off set talking about their perception of the immigrant issue has been interesting.”
Orla Fitzgerald, who plays a garda called Niamh in the drama, said it is “important that a light is shone” on the issues around direct provision.
“I didn’t know a lot about direct provision and I think it’s good that that part of Irish society is explored,” she said.
Equally, actor Lynn Rafferty who plays Jen, the garda heading up the investigation, said she thinks the show is “re-enforcing that everyone’s story is important and everyone’s story should be heard”.
Rafferty also said she got some insight into the job of a garda in Ireland. Her character is is a thick-skinned investigator, but she bring a lot of empathy into her job.
“I really enjoyed playing her, for myself as a person I think I’d be too empathetic to do what she does, I’d be way to sensitive.”
She has two friends who are gardaí and she turned to them for some pointers.
“I just wanted them to help me understand how difficult the job is and just the day-to-day basis what it entailed. That helped me a lot in terms of really understanding how hard it is to do the job – and how hard it is to get promoted as well because I’ve just recently been promoted in it as well.
“I watched a lot of detective documentaries too just to get an idea of the day-to-day normal life as opposed to what you see on [fictional] TV shows. I wanted to make it as real as possible because at the end of the day they are coming in and just doing a job every day. ”