This feature film about a man who was hanged for a murder he did not commit in Ireland in the 1940’s, co-written with John Waters, was developed with Octagon Films and the Irish Film Board, and is yet to be made.
Silence is a compelling drama based on a true story.
At its heart is the relationship between two men who both in their very different ways believe passionately in truth and justice, and whose meeting led directly to the ending of capital punishment in Ireland.
In 1940 Harry Gleeson, a deaf farm labourer, was framed and subsequently hanged for the murder of Moll McCarthy, a local woman who sold sex to feed her six children, all sired by local men, while the whole community, well aware of the true identity of the perpetrators, stood idly by.
Harry Gleeson’s story explores the way the establishment ruthlessly takes advantage of outsiders and the less privileged and uses them for its own ends. The church, the police, the legal establishment, the republican movement, and the institution of the family all played their part in the conspiracy of silence which did for Harry.
Sean McBride, a Dublin barrister and politician who had been an important figure in the revolutionary movement and laid his life on the line to fight for the country he believed in, convinced of Harry’s innocence, took on his case and became his friend and champion. Shocked at the outcome of Harry’s trial he led the campaign for the abolition of capital punishment for which he received a Nobel prize.
The film is the story of their joint struggle. Its themes transcend time and place telling a story of broad and permanent relevance.