Soaps

Julie Lor­dan talks to Les­ley Con­roy about how Aoife is cop­ing in Car­rigstown

RTÉ Guide - - Contents - with Julie Lor­dan

Aoife O’Neill has re­turned to Fair City, but as yet her mo­tives are un­known. Con­sid­er­ing she is a griev­ing mother who knows the iden­tity of her daugh­ter’s killer and is car­ry­ing a gun, how safe is Kerri-Ann? She is al­ready fac­ing prison for killing Aoife’s daugh­ter, Karen, and will be sep­a­rated from her baby daugh­ter, not to men­tion hus­band Decco, so it’s pos­si­ble that even Aoife will feel a lit­tle sym­pa­thy for her.

Does Les­ley Con­roy think Aoife feels any dif­fer­ently to­wards Kerri-Ann when she sees her with her own baby, Sa­man­tha? “Well it cer­tainly com­pli­cated the is­sue! Aoife is flooded with mem­o­ries of her own early re­la­tion­ship with Karen as a lit­tle girl. How­ever, when­ever Aoife looks at Kerri-Ann she re­minds her­self that she’s look­ing into the eyes of her daugh­ter’s killer,” says Les­ley. “Aoife knows Kerri-Ann has to pay for cut­ting Karen’s life short. Kerri-Ann will have vis­i­ta­tion rights and will be re­united with her child when she fin­ishes her sen­tence, but Aoife will never be able to spend time with Karen again.”

Aoife is not con­vinced that the le­gal sys­tem will make Kerri-Ann pay for what she did. “Aoife sees the le­gal sys­tem and jus­tice as two dif­fer­ent things. To bal­ance the scales, she is driven to take mat­ters in her own hands. She knows that Kerri-Ann will get a light sen­tence as it’s her first crime and she’s a new mother, but Aoife’s child was taken from her,” says Les­ley.

“Look, Aoife adored Karen. She wanted the ab­so­lute best for her and sup­ported her in what­ever di­rec­tion her life led. Karen was at the be­gin­ning of her adult life and her career in dance was go­ing well. Then life be­came very com­pli­cated for them both. For a start, Aoife and Robbie rekin­dled their re­la­tion­ship, which ended his mar­riage to Carol.

“At this point, the cracks be­gan to show in the mother-daugh­ter re­la­tion­ship and Aoife wasn’t able to give Karen the emo­tional sup­port she needed. As Karen be­gan to spi­ral down­wards, Aoife re­alised that her own choices were im­pact­ing on Karen and that she needed to take action, but it was too late.”

It sounds like

Aoife is deal­ing with guilt as well as grief.

“Ab­so­lutely.

Aoife suc­ceeded in rais­ing an in­de­pen­dent young woman who was de­ter­mined to make her own de­ci­sions,” said Les­ley. “It was Karen’s de­ci­sion to stay in Dublin. Aoife could see at this point that Karen needed more sup­port but their re­la­tion­ship was so strained that Karen wasn’t open to this and was left in a very vul­ner­a­ble po­si­tion.”

So, why is Aoife back in Car­rigstown now? Ac­cord­ing to Les­ley, “Aoife felt ready to leave Car­rigstown when she found out the iden­tity of Karen’s killer. How­ever, she’s never been able to put it be­hind her. I imag­ine Aoife is hor­ri­fied by Kerri-Ann’s nerve to reach out to her. Know­ing that her daugh­ter’s killer is walk­ing the streets un­til she goes to prison is af­fect­ing her and Aoife is frus­trated at how slow the ju­di­cial sys­tem is mov­ing. She ar­rives back to get close to Kerri-Ann and find an op­por­tu­nity to even the score.”

In the im­me­di­ate after­math of Karen’s mur­der, Aoife sus­pected and even ac­cused many peo­ple, but not Kerri-Ann. Was she shocked at the iden­tity of the real cul­prit?

“It came as a real sur­prise! Aoife and Karen had very lit­tle in­ter­ac­tion with Kerri-Ann dur­ing their time in Car­rigstown. The only con­nec­tion re­ally was when Karen kissed Decco in the Sta­tion Bar the night she was killed. She was the most un­likely of sus­pects, which made the fall out all the more in­trigu­ing.”

Back to the present, and there is no doubt about Aoife’s in­ten­tions. She threat­ens Kerri-Ann and has a gun, but at least Decco and Carol are on to Aoife and her plans.

Les­ley agrees. “They prob­a­bly re­mem­ber how hell-bent Aoife was on dis­cov­er­ing the iden­tity of Karen’s killer, so they are right to be con­cerned. Let’s not for­get that Aoife comes from a back­ground in se­cu­rity, so yes, they should be wary of her and what she may have planned.” How­ever Aoife was deal­ing with her grief when she was away from Car­rigstown, she is get­ting lit­tle com­fort from be­ing back at the scene of the crime, where life has a sem­blance of nor­mal­ity for those in­volved in her daugh­ter’s death.

In par­tic­u­lar, Aoife re­sents Kerri-Ann’s cel­e­bra­tion of the birth of her own daugh­ter Sa­man­tha. “Yeah, Aoife is dis­gusted at the pomp and cer­e­mony of Sa­man­tha’s chris­ten­ing, how life is go­ing on as nor­mal, when Kerri-Ann should be rid­dled with guilt and keep­ing a low pro­file.”

Couldn’t tak­ing out her anger and hate on Kerri-Ann back­fire on Aoife? If any­thing was to hap­pen to Kerri-Ann, it wouldn’t take Sher­lock Holmes to work out that Aoife was in­volved. Les­ley sees it dif­fer­ently: “Aoife has noth­ing to lose. She is in a very dan­ger­ous mind­set when she re­turns to Car­rigstown and is ca­pa­ble of do­ing any­thing. How­ever, as she spends time there and peo­ple reach out to her, per­haps her fer­vour cools and she be­comes more ra­tio­nal.”

As for Les­ley her­self, de­spite the grim sto­ry­line, she loves work­ing on with the Fair City team. “It’s a lovely set-up with a friendly bunch of peo­ple. The ac­tors are fan­tas­tic and hard­work­ing. I’ve en­joyed be­ing ex­posed to some great di­rect­ing tal­ent over the months and rel­ish be­ing part of such strong and ex­cit­ing sto­ry­lines,” she said. “I have noth­ing but ad­mi­ra­tion for soap ac­tors, now that I know how fast the turn­around is and how hard they work.”

As well as Car­rigstown, Les­ley is busy with stage work and has just fin­ished re­hearsals for Ma­rina Carr’s The Mai with Deca­dent Theatre Com­pany, which goes on tour in Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber.

For now, view­ers will be hop­ing that Aoife doesn’t wreak havoc on the streets of Car­rigstown, but then again, that’s what makes Fair City so com­pelling!

Kerri Ann nds the gun in Aoife’s bag Aoife pre­pares to ditch the gun

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