THE cast and crew of Cork’s hit tv show The Young Offenders showed they had a softer side after rallying around a crew member seeking help for vulnerable orphans in India.
During production of the show last year, an online post from the show’s Second Assistant Director, Conor Slattery, set off a chain of goodwill among all those involved in the programme, which has attracted thousands of viewers in its first series.
In the message, Conor spoke of his mother Siobhán’s heroic efforts to help a group of Indian street children, who are now living in a secure orphanage and attending school.
“I had posted something about it on Facebook which came up as a memory on my timeline just recently,” the Crosshaven man said.
Production coordinator, Mary Gilroy, spotted it and asked if she could do a 24-hour fast to raise money,” said Conor, whose youngest son Louis played the part of young Conor in the series.
“I was delighted. A 24-hour fast is a lot to ask of someone who’s up at 4.30am for a day’s shooting, so I really appreciated the gesture. That particular day was quite busy. I was urgently trying to replace a double for one of the characters so wasn’t able to give it too much thought.”
Conor did not anticipate the phenomenal response from his colleagues. “I was blown away. Each member of the cast and crew contributed something.
“The total amounted to around €1,000, enough for the girls in India to eat for a whole year.
“These are artists who work hard for their money. Knowing that they all gave something meant a great deal.”
Conor heaped praise on his mother Siobhán for changing the lives of so many children.
“My mum is a true superhero. When I was young she would cycle from Crosshaven to Shanbally to work on an old Triumph bike just to put bread on the table.
“For a while, mum was very sick and is now in remission from cancer, but she stills continues to do incredible things. I feel really lucky to have so many incredible women in my life.”
The RTÉ series, featuring Alex Murphy and Chris Walley as loveable rogues Conor and Jock, and Hilary Rose as Conor’s mam Mairead, has enjoyed an average consolidated audience of around 401,000 since its debut in February. It has been hugely popular with younger viewers with 36% of 15 to 34-year-olds tuning in to the show every Thursday night on RTÉ2.
Conor’s heartwrenching message of gratitude to Mary on Facebook has been shared many times.
He said he was delighted with the reception the show has received, especially the final episode.
“It’s a big episode and it took a lot of work to make it happen. A lot of work from people who on the very day that they were shooting this episode were also thinking about children in India.”