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'A historic murder plot': Docu-drama The Queen v Patrick O'Donnell to air on TG4 this week

The Queen v Patrick O’Donnell premiered at Galway Film Fleadh in 2021.

rosgireland / YouTube

A MAJOR NEW docu-drama, The Queen v Patrick O’Donnell is airing on Irish television for the first time this week – and you won’t want to miss it. 

Showing on TG4 this Wednesday March 16 at 9:30pm, The Queen v Patrick O’Donnell tells the true story of one of the most compelling murder plots in Irish history. 

Having premiered at Galway Film Fleadh in 2021 and subsequently having been shown at sixteen international film festivals including in the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Hong Kong, the docu-drama – which is adapted from the book of the same name by Seán Ó Cuirreáin – has received great acclaim. 

IMG_6661 (1) Stephen Jones as James Carey TG4 TG4

So, what’s it about? The Queen v Patrick O’Donnell documents the 1883 murder of James Carey, leader of the Invincibles – a Fenian group who targeted high profile figures to promote their nationalist cause.

His death came in the aftermath of the assassination of two top British officials – Lord Frederick Cavendish, Chief Secretary of Ireland, and undersecretary Thomas Burke – in Phoenix Park in 1882 by the Invincibles. 

The murders caused a great impact across the water to Queen Victoria, and various suspects were rounded up and interrogated. One of these suspects was, of course, James Carey, who “broke” under questioning and whose evidence saw five of his Invincibles comrades executed and others imprisoned for the killings. 

IMG_6662 (1) Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde is Patrick O'Donnell TG4 TG4

Now a marked man, Carey altered his appearance, changed his surname to ‘Power’, and embarked on a journey by sea to South Africa. It was here he befriended Donegal man Patrick O’Donnell, and the men and their families planned to travel by boat from Cape Town to Durban once they reached South Africa. 

However, before reaching Durban James ‘Power’ was dead – and O’Donnell was charged with murder. 

Containing evidence from files of the British Home Office which have been kept secret for 100 years, The Queen v Patrick O’Donnell looks at the many questions surrounding his conviction – from whether the killing was an act of self-defence or if O’Donnell himself was a Fenian assassin following orders.  

The Queen v Patrick O’Donnell airs on starts this Wednesday March 16 at 9:30pm on TG4. Missed it? Catch up on the TG4 Player

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