The fallout from the controversy over the filming of part of the new season of the Hardy Bucks TV show in Toomore graveyard continued this week, with one county councillor saying that he'd have shot at them if it had been done in his area, and another saying that he would have physically prevented them filming if he was in the area at the time.
There was deep anger in the Foxford area last week when it emerged that the production company making the television show had been given permission by Mayo County Council to film in Toomore graveyard. Local Fine Gael councillor Neil Cruise, told the May meeting of the Ballina Municipal District.
"Last Wednesday, I fielded a lot of calls from people who were upset and angry, it hadn't been flagged before that in the area. I confronted the location manager with a member of the (graveyard ) committee last Wednesday morning and he indicated to me that Mayo County Council had given permission to use it.
"I put it to him, because I had been speaking to members of the committee that morning - that they had got permission by deception. What seems to have transpired is that they spoke with members of the committee and members of the committee quite rightly referred them to Mayo County Council. Then an email was sent into Mayo County Council saying they had the blessing of the committee - which they did not. I put it to him it was by deception and asked where was his written permission from the committee and he indicated to me he didn't have written permission from the committee.
"Mayo County Council was deceived into giving permission. These are the facts of the matter, I put it to him these were the facts and asked what was his next course of action, and he just went on filming. There still is a lot of anger and upset. A very well respected lady in the community was laid to rest there, less than 24 hours previous to the commencement of filming.
"I honestly don't think it wasn't the right place for filming, they might have done things in a respectful and curtious manner, but I don't think we need to be using graveyards in such a manner. There is a lot of anger out there, and I know particularly the person from the committee who witnessed my interaction with them, is going to take this an awful lot further, he feels the cemetery has been desecrated. This thing is wandering on now, the upset and anger has been recorded, there is lessons for all of us from this as a council and for production crew. The commitee is meeting very soon an will plot their course of action."
Independent Cllr Seamus Weir told the meeting: "It shows they have no respect for the graveyard, no respect for the people from the area, no respect for people in Mayo or anywhere. If it happened in my graveyard, I definitely would be outside and I'd have the gun, guarantee you, I'd shoot them, I'd run them one way or the other."
Fellow Independent councillor Gerry Ginty added: "The people of Toomore must be very peace loving people, if they had tried that stunt in Ballina or a lot of other cemeteries around this county, I'll tell you they would have got removed very, very, fast and if I happened to be in the area at the time, I would have physically prevented them from doing what they were doing. I think it would have been my duty as an Irish man to have done that."
Responding to the comments, Marie Crowley, the head of Ballina Municipal District for Mayo County Council told the meeting: "First to say, it is an objective of Mayo County Council to encourage filming in the county, we have regularly film crews in Mayo looking for locations we have a website set up to encourage and facilitate it. It is through these channels this request to us Toomore came in from a respectable and reputable film crew, with whom Mayo County Council have worked in the past.
"The permission was granted and it was granted by myself to allow the filming. The understanding was that there wasn't any local objection, but we can quite clearly see now that there were local objections. I've spoken to a number of people over the last number of days who are obviously very upset, and I acknowledge that there is upset in the community, but there was no intention to upset anyone in any way. I understand every effort was made to be sensitive during the filming. We understand there is upset in the community, there was permission given to the film crew with certain conditions imposed on them and they met all those conditions imposed on them. But as has been said, lessons need to be learned."