Evelyn (2002) Movie Script

Evelyn, did Jesus have a big sister?
No, Dermot, he didn't.
He wasn't as lucky as you.
He had two daddies, though.
God the Father and Joseph the carpenter.
Did Joseph ever do a bit of painting
and decorating like my dad?
Evelyn, you take the boys home.
l'll go find your mother.
-All right, Dad.
-Good girl.
l want the big one.
The big one's mine.
l'm the biggest. Come on.
l told you l was just going to the pub
for a Christmas drink.
Why kick up such a fuss?
Who was he?
You were all over him like a bloody rash.
Don't be stupid.
Sounds like Mommy and Daddy are back.
Right in front of all our friends, too.
You frozen little mites.
Come here, now.
We were arguing
if the chimney was wide enough for Santa.
lt's great we're on the top floor
so Santa can park his reindeers, and that.
lt is. He's got the whole roof to land on.
Say goodnight to Mommy.
When will Santa be here?
Santa's gonna be here very soon.
Off to bed with the lot of you.
-Santa will come when you're asleep.
-l won't be able to sleep.
You will, love. Take your jumper
and boots off. Not up on the bed.
-You all right?
-Yes, Daddy.
Okay. All right. Night-night.
Daddy, where's the carriages?
Son, Santa was a bit
strapped for cash this year.
lt costs a lot of money to feed those elves.
How much do they cost?
lt costs lots and lots.
Happy Christmas.
My little Christmas angel.
l hope you were a good girl. Were you?
-There's Granddad.
-Happy Christmas, everybody!
All right. Look at what you've got there.
Thanks, Granddad!
No money, no job.
Happy Christmas.
Look on the bright side, son.
Come the New Year, you'll have a new job.
You and the kids will be set up.
The world will be your oyster.
We never died a winter yet.
Oh, of all the money
that ever I earned
I spent it in good company
And all the harm that ever I done
Heidi, we're going to see Angela.
She's my best friend.
She has a dolly, too.
l'm sure she'd like to meet you.
Mommy's going shopping, Heidi.
Do you like her nice new shoes and coat?
But this is St. Stephen's Day.
Mommy, come back, it's St. Stephen's Day.
The shops are shut!
Be quiet.
Mommy's gone. She was all dressed up
when she went away with a man in a car.
Jesus, don't let me down now. Come on.
She's your daughter.
You say you don't know where she's gone?
She's your wife,
and you don't know, do you?
l always said this would end in tears.
Should never have got stuck
with a corner boy like you.
Who's her fancy man?
ls it the bastard l saw her with in the pub?
-Your language is appalling.
-Your bloody....
Your bloody daughter is appalling.
l hope you don't use language like that
in front of your daughter.
Don't tell me how to bring up
my own daughter.
You obviously know sweet F.A. about it.
Where did she meet him? ln the pub?
No, you're the one who spends all his time
there. No wonder she got sick of you.
-l treated her well.
l never raised a hand in anger to her once,
though she gave me just cause for it.
Maybe that's where l went wrong.
Here you are, love.
Hot milk.
Christmas pudding.
You want some of this?
lt's very nice.
Why not? You must be starving.
She made it.
Maurice, give him the ball back.
l hear her fancy man is English.
Bastard. l might have guessed.
Good day, gentlemen.
l'm lnspector Logan of the SPCC.
Mrs. Daisley, your mother-in-law, l believe,
told us of your plight.
The Society
for Prevention of Cruelty to Children?
That's correct.
ls she saying
that l've been cruel to my kids?
Not at all, Mr. Doyle.
We only have the children's welfare at heart.
To lose their mother at this age
can have a traumatizing effect.
How's that any business of yours?
l'm here to help you.
l understand you've no income
to support your family.
Do you have any female relatives
to call upon?
Maureen. Des' mother, died a long time ago.
Then, Mr. Doyle, you have no choice but
to approach the authorities for assistance.
l will arrange for the Sisters to call.
We don't need your charity.
You have no job
and no mother for your children.
He's right, son.
All right.
Send in the nuns.
Sit still.
But l don't like cabbage.
lt is very good for you.
Eat it up. l don't want to hear about it.
You are a painter and decorator by trade,
but your attempts to secure employment...
since your wife's departure
have been unsuccessful.
Yes, sir. Your Honor.
But it's only been a couple of weeks.
And there's a big job coming up
at the Robert West House...
but that's not until the end of March.
And you have no other source of revenue?
Sir, my father, Henry,
who's sitting here, and myself...
we're setting up a tour of the Dublin pubs.
Surely that will represent expenditure
rather than income.
No, Your Honor.
We'll be playing music for money.
My father was a professional musician.
He played for Radio Eireann
until retirement age.
Dessie has a fine voice, Your Honor.
l'm sure he has.
But you won't be able to support your family
on that alone, will you?
Maybe not, Your Honor.
Under Section 10
of the Children's Act, 1941 ...
l hereby rule that
until there is a significant improvement...
in the domestic and financial circumstances
of Desmond Doyle...
his two sons, Dermot and Maurice...
will be placed in care
of the Christian Brothers in Kilkenny...
and his daughter, Evelyn Doyle...
will be committed
to St. Joseph's School in Dublin.
And l hope you don't have to leave them
in care for too long.
Come here. Come sit down.
-l wanna go home.
-l know you wanna go home.
We're gonna go home soon. Listen.
l love you very much.
You must understand that.
Granddad, there's St. Joseph, Jesus' daddy!
l'll pray to him to get us home.
He'll understand.
That's right, love, he'll understand.
Mr. Doyle, l'm Brother Eustace.
Look at the rays.
-Do you know what these are?
-No, Granddad.
Angel rays.
-Angel rays?
These mean that your guardian angel is
reminding you that he's waiting to help you.
All you have to do is believe in him.
Angel rays.
Look, pet, your favorites.
He's helping you already.
Granddad, please don't leave me here.
l don't want to stay here with the Sisters.
l hate them!
They're the Brides of Christ.
Then why do they wear
black, horrible dresses?
Brides should wear white dresses!
What's going on?
Have you been bold, young lady?
lt's all right.
l just dropped a tube of fruit gums.
-Come along, now.
Granddad, please don't go.
-Let go, now.
-Let go of me!
Please, Granddad!
Please be a good girl for the Sisters.
l'll come back and see you soon.
Disgraceful performance.
We'll teach you some manners in here.
We'll get you cleaned up,
you dirty little tinker.
Mr. Doyle.
Sister, please don't cut her hair.
lt's her father's pride and joy.
Thank you, Sister Brigid.
l'm sure we'll manage fine.
One large nun should be enough
to scrub one small girl.
Of course, Sister Felicity.
l was just making sure
she didn't throw another tantrum.
She's a willful one.
Wasn't our Lord a willful one, too?
l'm sure she'll be fine. Won't you?
Thank you, Sister Brigid.
Don't look so worried.
This is standard procedure for new girls.
Otherwise, the place would be jumping
with lice and fleas and God knows what.
Come on, take your clothes off.
Don't be shy.
After all...
is how God created Adam and Eve.
lt's how he sent the Baby Jesus
into the world.
We'll have you squeaky clean
in no time at all.
Come on, sit down.
You can call me Felicity.
What's your name?
Evelyn Doyle.
Pleased to meet you.
Pleased to meet you, Sister Felicity.
Good afternoon, ladies.
Could you spare a few pence
for the poor black babies of Africa?
-Here you are.
-lt's a very good cause.
Thanks, God bless you.
You're very generous.
-Give us another pint, please.
-You've had enough.
Listen to you....
l'm sick of people telling me what to do.
You just get us another pint.
-Just a few pennies from you, there?
-There you go, Father.
Those little orphans,
they really need your charity.
you lot have taken my babies!
You've made my babies orphans.
Fair play to you.
That's a great right cross
you have on you there.
Right, here we are.
Quiet! Too much talking.
Just down here, love.
Down you sit.
Don't let my teeth fool you. l don't bite.
She's a sweetheart, that Sister Felicity.
lt's Frigid Brigid you've got to watch out for.
She could put the fear of death
into a corpse, so she could.
l'm Mary.
-l'm Annette.
-l'm Lauren.
l'm Evelyn.
-Your soup doesn't look very good.
-You'll get used to it.
You get used to most things here.
Half the kids in lreland are cooped up here.
How long have you been here for?
-Six months?
-Six years.
l won't be here for long.
My daddy's gonna come and get me.
That's what my dad told me.
l'm sorry, Desmond.
l was the seminary boxing champion.
-Let that be a lesson to you.
Never underestimate the strength
of the Church militant.
-God bless.
-Thanks, Father.
lf you want your kids back that badly,
you should get a good lawyer.
They cost money.
Go and see Michael Beattie.
Twenty-four Upper Mount Street.
-Say l sent you.
-Fair enough.
l'll say the new barmaid at Fergal's Pub
sent me. That'll impress him.
Tell him Bernadette sent you,
you cheeky oaf.
Bernadette Beattie, his little sister.
l'm working here part-time
to help Uncle Fergal.
l'm a trainee chemist, actually.
So, you're the beautiful niece
Fergal's always bragging about.
l bet you have lots of fellows
running after you.
Yes. But none of them
have managed to catch me yet.
You're not a bad-looking woman,
now that l look at you.
Of course, with this bump on my head,
l'm probably hallucinating.
Bless you, John.
Once again,
until we achieve unity and harmony.
Where do we say our night prayers?
Not in the bed...
not under the bed, but by the bed.
Then kneel by your beds and give thanks.
Get a move on, Evelyn.
You're keeping us all waiting.
We do not lie like that, on our stomach.
lt tempts the Devil.
We lie on our back
and cross our arms like this.
l will check every night
that you are sleeping in this position.
We must not tempt Lucifer.
No more talking. Good night, girls.
Good night, Sister.
Mr. Doyle, family law in this jurisdiction...
is a cozy conspiracy between
the Catholic Church and the lrish State.
They're in cahoots.
You're saying that you're all frightened
if you take them on, you'll never work again.
Something like that.
l suggest you come back to me when
your circumstances are more favorable...
and l'll see what l can do.
On the banks of the roses,
my love and I sat down
And I took out my fiddle,
for to play my love a tune
In the middle of the tune
she sighed and she said
''Oh, Johnny, lovely Johnny,
why'd you leave me?''
Oh, when I was a young man,
I heard my father say
That he'd rather see me dead
and buried in the clay
Sooner than be married to any runaway
On the lovely sweet banks of the roses
On the banks of the roses,
my love and I sat down
And I took out my fiddle,
for to play my love a tune
In the middle of the tune
she sighed and she said
''Oh, Johnny, lovely Johnny,
why'd you leave me?''
''Oh, Lord, l vow never more to offend thee...
''and carefully
to avoid the occasions of sin.''
...and the meadows they are gay
And me and my true love
will sit and sport and play
On the lovely sweet banks of the roses
On the banks of the roses,
my love and I sat down
And I took out my fiddle,
for to play my love a tune
In the middle of the tune
-Look who's back.
-Straight from Chicago.
How's my favorite lrish colleen?
-l'm well. How are you?
-l'm great.
Who's your man in the sharp suit,
over there?
How should l know?
He looks like a Yank.
Maybe he's a friend of hers.
Maybe he's a chemist.
lf l can regain your attention for a moment...
we'll have requests.
Apart from Nobody's Child.
We're not fond of that now.
-Boys of Wexford.
-Whistling Gypsies.
-Are you still not talking to Grandma?
-No, l'll never speak to that woman.
She blames your father for everything.
May she rot in Hell, the old witch.
Jesus says we should forgive
those who trespassed against us.
lt's in the ''Our Father.''
-Grandma, would you like a fruit gum?
-Thanks, love.
Granddad gave them to me.
l won't bother then, love.
Listen, love,
there is something you must tell him.
lt's really warm.
...stuff it, will you?
Good girl.
Grandma's got a letter from Sydney.
Sidney, who?
Sydney in Australia.
-lt's from Mommy, she's in Australia.
She didn't give her address,
but it said Sydney on the postmark thing.
l might have guessed.
She always had the wanderlust,
your mother.
-Grandma said it's hot in Australia.
-lt is.
You can tell her it's not as hot
as the place where her daughter will end up.
-That's it.
-Still no carriages, Dad.
No, son.
Still no carriages.
''Dear Daddy, it's great news that you have
such a good job, doing up that old house.
''I miss you and the boys
and Granddad very much...
''and I hope we can get back together soon.
''What did Granddad mean
when he told me to tell Grandma Daisley...
''that he hopes Mommy
meets a great white in Australia?
''I think it's a kangaroo,
but Mary thinks it's a koala bear.
''I like most of the nuns here.
''Sister Felicity is nice and kind...
''and so is Sister Theresa.
''But Sister Brigid is very scary. ''
ls God good, just and merciful?
Yes, Sister.
''Yes'' isn't the catechism answer, is it?
What does the catechism say?
lt says....
l've had enough of you, Annette Farrell.
God is infinitely good...
infinitely just...
and infinitely--
What are you saying to me, child?
l don't think you should do that, Sister.
lf God is infinitely merciful,
he wouldn't want you to do that.
You dare to question me about God?
lnsolent brat!
Right, outside.
never talk to me like that again!
Where's my daughter, Evelyn Doyle?
Do you have an appointment?
l don't need an appointment
to see my own daughter.
-Who are you?
-l'm Sister Brigid.
Are you?
lf you ever lay a finger
on my daughter again...
l will tear you...
limb from limb.
Now, where is she?
ln the refectory, on the first floor.
-You shouldn't be on the premises.
-l've come for my daughter.
-You must leave.
-l'm not leaving without her.
-You know that's impossible.
-l'm having her back. Where is she?
You cannot barge in here--
There's no bloody laws in lreland
that will keep her away from me.
How dare you use language like that
in front of me.
Don't speak to me like that. l will not have it.
Daddy! Don't fight.
Don't fight with Sister Theresa!
lt's all right, love. Don't worry.
Can l see her?
Not if you're going to run off with her.
That'll just get you arrested.
Okay, l promise.
l just wanna hold her for a second.
l give you my word, all right?
Evelyn, your daddy's here to see you.
lt's good to see you.
Daddy, have you come to take me home?
l'll be taking you home soon, pet.
Very soon.
l hear you're doing well at your new job.
My circumstances have improved,
as you would say.
So, you'll take the case, then?
You've been drinking, haven't you?
l can smell it off your breath.
Since we're not planning on kissing,
l don't see a problem.
lt's not going to help our case...
if the court thinks
you're drinking your pay packet.
Our case?
That means you'll take it, then?
Who is this gobshite?
This ''gobshite''
is the Minister for Education.
He's claiming we require the consent
of your wife for the release of your kids.
How can we get her consent
when she's disappeared?
Even her pudding-faced old mother's
got no address.
lt's the law. Yours is a unique case.
Normally, the wife would be deceased.
She ran out on her kids.
What kind of mother would do that?
We could argue that she's emotionally
incapable of bringing up the children...
but l'm afraid all of that is,
strictly speaking, irrelevant.
The law still requires her consent...
no matter how irresponsibly
she may have behaved.
To hell with the law.
That attitude will get us nowhere, Desmond.
l've done everything l was asked to do.
That District Judge or Justice
didn't tell me l'd need my wife's consent.
He definitely misdirected you,
which gives us a useful basis for a start.
But it may not be material enough...
for a challenge in law,
as there are no precedents for your case.
We'll make the bloody precedent!
l want justice!
The law and justice
are two entirely different things.
Jesus. You can say that again.
Of course, l'm only a solicitor.
l'm not entitled to speak
in a court case like this.
We need a barrister.
And they're very expensive.
l don't care how much it costs.
l'll work round the clock, if l have to.
To fight Church and State
is to fight Goliath.
David beat Goliath, in the book l read.
-lt's a first edition.
-ls it?
lt'll be grand, l tell you.
l've got it all worked out, Dad.
Don't worry about it.
-Get us another pint.
-You'll have another one?
l will.
Make mine a large one, Bernadette.
A pint for Desmond.
You two are knocking them back tonight.
Poor Dessie's going through
a rough time lately.
Aren't we all fond of a drink?
That's right, Henry.
You can't hold that against a man, can you?
That lad of yours is going through hell.
-l think he's drinking to forget.
-You're right, Fergal.
l wonder if our American friend knows
the one thing worse than drinking to forget.
-Do you know what that is, son?
-Worse than drinking to forget? No.
Forgetting to drink.
l'll drink to that.
That wife of his
didn't know the meaning of the word ''love.''
lt's strange. The Greeks
have all these different words for love.
''Philia,'' ''agapi,'' ''eros.''
We have just the one.
We use the same word
for our nearest and dearest...
as we do for a packet of cigarettes.
-lt's interesting, isn't it?
-l think it's very interesting.
Did you know that Eskimos
have over 40 different words for snow?
-ls that a fact?
-lt's true. The wife told me that.
She should know. She's frigid.
You're an awful man.
-l keep telling you not to drink and drive.
-l'm not drinking and driving.
l drank before l drove.
-l don't think this is a good idea.
-lt's the only way, Dad.
lt's the only way.
-l can see the dormitory, there.
-We should come back some other time.
No. l've got to rescue the poor little mite.
Right, we've come this far.
They've greased the top of the wall.
Mind yourself, son.
You're drenched!
That'll be the rain.
You're one to talk.
l just....
Come in.
-Sit yourself down.
-lt's okay. l'm not staying.
All right. Suit yourself.
l'll get you a towel. A clean one.
This place needs a good cleaning.
lt's got more empties than Fergal's.
Looking for a towel here somewhere. God.
Here we go.
There it is.
You can have it, if you want.
As a reward
for putting me in touch with your brother.
l had no idea you could do this.
There's lots of things l can do
that you don't know about.
l'm sure there are.
We're saving up for a housekeeper.
You know anyone who's suitable?
lt's not a housekeeper you need.
lt's a barkeeper.
You know what your problem is?
You think all you have to do is smile
with that cheeky twinkle...
and everything will be grand.
lt's time you grew up.
-You like my cheeky twinkle, then?
-You drink too much!
Ridiculous. l've got a lot on my mind.
-Like a trip to Scotland with your kids?
How do you know about that?
Because the tickets fell out of your coat.
An adult and three kids?
Who could that be, l wonder?
l knew you were up to something.
You big idiot.
Don't call me a big idiot!
l'll bet you want someone smooth,
like the Yank.
Whose jokes you laugh at all the time
like he's Oscar bloody Wilde.
Nick's funny. And he's more of a ladies' man
than Oscar ever was.
l get the message.
You fancy him.
Don't tell me who l fancy.
That's for me to decide.
What l don't want is a drunkard...
who has some mad notion about
sneaking off with his kids to Scotland.
Why should you care?
What business is it of yours?
Because l don't want
to have to visit you in prison.
Has anybody ever told you
you're a fine woman?
Lots of men.
Some of them weren't even married.
-Not until you give me the tickets.
Give me the ferry tickets.
l'll take them back and get you a refund.
Jesus, woman.
You drive a hard bargain. Where are they?
Here you go.
-l always get sick on the ferry, anyway.
-l just think, you know, you and l--
-Do you really think l'd kiss you now?
lt'd be like kissing a soggy beer-mat.
-But you just said--
-No. l said you have to give up the drink.
For God's sake.
That's the hardest thing to do.
The second hardest.
Getting your family back is the hardest.
Oh, of all the money that ever I had
I spent it in good company
And all the harm that ever I've done
Alas it was to none but me
And if I had money enough to spend
And leisure time to sit awhile
There is a fair maid in this town
Who sorely has my heart beguiled
Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips
I own she has my heart in thrall
So, fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all
Good man, Des.
Lovely. Good man.
Thank you very much, everyone.
You've been wonderful. God bless you all.
We hope to see you again next week.
Okay. God bless. Good night.
Come on.
You all right?
Dessie, l....
Look at me. Are you okay? Dad, come on.
Dad. Someone get a doctor.
Here, Johnny!
Go and run for a doctor, quick!
l'm here.
-l'm here, Dad.
-The kids.
-We'll get them back.
You and l, together.
Henry, it's Father O'Malley.
lf you can hear me,
say the Act of Contrition.
Look, angel rays.
What's angel rays, love?
lt's Granddad letting us know
he's watching over us.
He's our guardian angel.
He told me all about angel rays.
Good old Dad.
l knew he wouldn't leave us.
-Good morning, Miss Gilhooly.
-Mr. Doyle.
-Didn't you get the letter?
-What letter?
The one canceling this appointment.
l didn't get any letter.
l've taken this morning
especially off work to see him.
This is my family we're talking about.
Where is he?
Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Lilo! Higgi! Come on!
Sorry, sir. lt's a trespasser.
lt's all right. This is a client of mine.
-A client, sir?
We have an appointment!
Please let us know in the future, sir,
if you're expecting visitors.
What the hell are you smirking at?
Do you think this is funny?
Do you think you can cancel appointments
and treat people like dirt?
-Mr. Doyle--
-l wasn't talking to you, Yank.
All you're good for's wearing sharp suits,
doing fancy deals...
and trying to get hands on our women.
-And our fish!
-Desmond, be reasonable.
l'm sorry l missed our appointment...
but there's really nothing more
l can do for you anymore.
Your being sorry
isn't gonna get my kids back, now, is it?
l'm sure the Yank here is having great fun...
seeing what a lot of bloody spineless
jellyfish we've got over here.
But ask yourself this, Mr. Big Shot.
What if it was your family?
Wouldn't you fight tooth and nail
to get them back?
Or are you just another
heartless, gutless bastard?
You just found yourself a lawyer.
ls that a fact?
So, you're not a chemist, then?
How come you can work over here
if you're a Yank?
Actually, l'm lrish.
l was born and reared in Kilkenny
till l was 9.
Then we emigrated to the States
and l subsequently came back here...
to study law at UCD.
So, he's qualified to plead in lrish courts.
Does my being a Yank bother you?
Not at all. l like Yanks.
Most of them were lrish
to begin with, anyway.
But l can't afford to pay you fancy money.
l'm not doing this for the money.
You'll just have to raise enough
to cover our costs.
l really appreciate your help, so l do.
We'll do our best for you.
-Right. Cheerio.
-We'll do our best?
-We're in this together, my friend.
Do you think l'll take this on
with any other solicitor?
We have no chance.
l don't know why you're taking it on.
Because l know what he's going through,
through no one's fault but my own.
l lost my own kids in that divorce.
-You don't realize what we're up against.
-l do realize what we're up against.
What possible chance
do you think you have?
You and Mr....
-Mr. Doyle.
-Mr. Doyle, here.
A painter and what? Decorator?
Master tradesman, to you.
Apart from anything else,
it will be prohibitively expensive.
Only if we lose.
-You'll lose, Mr....
You'll lose, because
if you were to win this case...
the whole basis of family law
would be undermined.
And believe me, gentlemen,
that will not be allowed to happen.
We thank you for your advice, Mr....
Shall we?
By the way, Minister...
your paintwork's shite.
What we really need
is an expert in family law to keep us right.
-You know?
-l thought you were an expert.
l haven't done family law in 20 years.
l've only a working knowledge.
You mean you don't know what you're
talking about? Can't you read some books?
lt's not quite as simple as that.
lt's a very tricky area.
We've still got the problem that everyone's
terrified of taking on the Establishment.
What was the name of that guy
that lectured us about family law?
-Remember? The real character.
-Tom Connolly.
There was a Connolly who played rugby
for lreland until his cartilage went.
l think he did a bit of law in his spare time.
Would that be him?
Gentlemen, l'm flattered by your attentions,
but l retired two years ago.
ln short, l can no longer face
speaking in court.
Sir, you wouldn't have to speak in court.
Mr. Barron here will do all the speaking.
But frankly, sir, he needs your help.
My family law is so rusty.
Even if you could just come on board
as a consultant.
l'm sorry to say this to you, Mr. Doyle.
But they'll put forward the best people
to put the case for the State.
The best that money can buy.
That's why they hated me.
l wouldn't be bought.
l believe that if there is a God,
He'll step in to help us.
l'm touched by your faith.
This is the only Holy Spirit
l've found to be of any practical assistance.
You were a big hero to me as a boy,
Mr. Connolly.
To my dad, too.
He took me to all your games.
You see that photo there?
l was at that game.
The one where you got injured.
That was the beginning of the end.
When that big brute of a fullback
did my cartilage in.
He was English, of course. The bastard.
Still, before l left the field...
l managed to boot him where his balls
would have been, if he'd any.
Fair play to you.
Anyway, lads...
your case is interesting.
Hopeless, but interesting.
You really think it's hopeless?
This case is what l used to call
''a real St. Jude.''
Why St. Jude?
Because St. Jude
is the patron saint of hopeless cases.
As l recall, sir, you've won
quite a few St. Judes in your time.
l suppose l have.
Retirement must be excruciatingly boring
for a man like yourself.
l propose a toast.
Justice and St. Jude.
I am Desmond Doyle...
father of Evelyn Doyle, who's been held
in your care without my consent.
l request the return
of my daughter, forthwith.
Mr. Doyle, you cannot have your daughter.
ln that case, my solicitor,
Mr. Michael Beattie...
will present you
with a writ of habeas corpus...
drafted by my counselor,
Mr. Nicholas Barron.
Duly presented.
Duly witnessed.
Thank you, Sister. That's all we need.
-So, it went well, then?
-lt went like a dream.
Desmond remembered all his lines,
and spoke them beautifully.
Laurence Olivier had better watch out.
-You didn't attack a nun, then?
-l did not.
l'm learning the rules of the game.
-What do we do now?
-We wait.
No. That's just what they want us to do.
They'll do nothing for months
and hope that we'll go away.
Nothing will happen
unless we force their hand.
l'll give my old friend Hugh Canning a ring.
Hugh Canning?
-But he's a sports commentator.
-Mostly, yes.
But he does a bit of everything.
May God grant you justice.
-Take this and run along, girl.
-Thank you, Sister.
What is it?
-Eileen, come here.
-What's going on?
''Desmond Doyle, a painter and decorator
from Fatima Mansions, Dublin...
''is a loving father who just wants
to spend time with his children...
''but the powers that be won't let him.
''Desmond's rosy-cheeked
little daughter, Evelyn....''
At least they've set a date for the hearing.
That's the first step.
A little bit of gentle pressure did the trick.
We had to give the Minister
a kick up his fat ass.
What do we do now?
You should smarten yourself up.
The press might want photos of you.
Try combing your hair, occasionally.
Look as if you haven't just fallen out of bed.
Use me as a role model if you want to.
And buy a new pair of shoes
before we get to court.
-New shoes?
l've known judges who judge a man's
character by the state of his shoes.
-Here they come. Let's get a shot.
-Especially of the little girl.
-Come on.
-Get the three of them together, now.
-Daddy, l scored a goal in Gaelic!
My loves! You look wonderful.
-Daddy, l like your new shoes.
-Thanks, Evelyn.
Ferris hasn't changed much since l knew
him. The torn-faced old poultice.
He's always looked like the Turin Shroud.
We used to call him ''Ferris the Ferret.''
Which is an insult to the rodent.
Mr. Barron, you're representing
the petitioner, Desmond Doyle?
Yes, my lord.
We contend the judge at the District Court
hearing of January 10 of this year...
misdirected the petitioner,
Mr. Desmond Doyle.
l refer you to the notes of that case
wherein the judge expressed his hope...
that Mr. Doyle would not have to leave
his children in care for too long.
Sadly, that has not been the case here.
The Children's Act of 1941 clearly states...
that unless the spouse is deceased,
which is not the case here...
then the consent
of both parents is required.
This is the basis of our case, Your Lordship.
Provision of the Children's Act...
must be understood in its literal,
grammatical meaning.
''Both parents'' means exactly that.
l therefore find against the petitioner,
Desmond Doyle.
Thank you, Judge Hall.
Judge McLaughlin?
With some reluctance,
l conclude that l, too, must find against...
the petitioner's application
and uphold the Minister's decision.
-We've lost.
-That's absolutely ridiculous!
-Order in court!
-You rotten louses. Let his babies go home.
Silence, or l shall have the court cleared.
-Silence in court!
-He's loving this. The rodent.
lt is incontrovertible...
that Section 10,
Subsection 1 of the Children's Act, 1941 ...
requires the consent of both parents.
ln the absence of such consent,
Evelyn Doyle and her brothers...
will remain in custody
until they are 16 years of age.
Furthermore, this court has decided...
that since the Children's Act
is capable of no other interpretation...
any appeal
would be a waste of the court's time.
Right of appeal is therefore denied.
-No, you flea-faced rat!
-Who said that?
Was that you, Connolly?
This is Hugh Canning,
the man who broke the Doyle story...
covering this sensational new development.
Leave them alone.
Get your hands off my kids!
-Leave me alone!
Unbelievable scenes here at the High Court.
l've never seen anything like it.
Desmond Doyle struggles with the gardai
for possession of his children.
A pitiful scene to watch.
And who wouldn't sympathize with a father
in this situation?
Daddy, please!
ls Desmond Doyle here?
He's sitting over there, in the booth.
Sorry to interrupt you.
l'm Honest Joe O'Leary, racecourse bookie.
l owned the book
on the outcome of your court case.
-The punters backed you heavy.
l didn't feel right in keeping this...
so l want you to have it.
My God.
lt's only 600, so l thought
it might go towards your court costs.
l don't know what to say, Mr. O'Leary.
You don't have to say anything, Mr. Doyle.
You see, l grew up in an orphanage.
l wish my dad had your guts.
Good luck to you. Good night, all.
Good night.
We're organizing a race next month.
-The Desmond Doyle Benefit Sweepstake.
-Put your money on Slippery Sam.
-Slippery Sam.
Grand man. Good night, now. God bless.
This calls for a celebration.
Another round for the table.
Make mine a lemonade.
What? A lemonade? Are you all right, son?
No, l'm feeling terrible.
But maybe it's time l tried to feel better.
Keep your eye on the ball, son.
Dig it out.
-Dig it out.
-Good reflexes, you'll need them.
-Back in the lrish strip, l see.
lt helps me to see things more clearly.
Did you play rugby yourself, Nick?
No, l understand it's kind of
a Neanderthal version of American football.
ls that what you think?
Hut, hut.
So, anyway...
why have l invited you to this sacred turf?
-l was kind of wondering that.
-So was l.
Me, too. lt's not exactly
how l planned to spend my morning.
You know...
when my cartilage went
and they were taking me off on a stretcher...
l looked up and l saw this father...
holding his little child up on his shoulders.
They thought l was a hero,
but you know something?
l envied that man so much. He was my hero.
All Desmond wants
is to hold his kids up on his shoulders.
We can help you to that.
But how, Tom? There is no right of appeal.
Ferris made sure of that.
We don't need an appeal.
Not if we bring an entirely new case...
based on an entirely different
principle of law.
But we're automatically barred
from bringing the same facts...
before the same court
that's already heard them.
Be it the District Courts or High Courts,
we've nowhere else to go.
There is somewhere else to go.
The Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court?
We can't go there with this.
They won't hear a case like this.
They only deal with big stuff.
Like laws that contravene
the lrish Constitution...
which l've been reading.
Wait a second. Hold on.
Has anyone ever successfully
challenged the law on these grounds?
-What chance do you think we've got?
-Who knows?
But l've seen games won by teams
without any hope at all.
Bloody hopeless.
Good evening,
and welcome to the very first edition...
of Conversations With Canning...
on this marvelous new medium
of the television.
For those of you who listen to my show
on the wireless...
I hope I'm even better looking
than you thought.
Now, many of you...
will remember these sad headlines
of last month..
''Desmond's Despair. ''
Desmond certainly isn't despairing
at the moment.
ln fact, he's sitting here, right beside me...
in our ultramodern television studio.
And he's got new reasons for being hopeful,
haven't you Desmond?
It's okay. You don't have to shout,
we can hear you fine.
Fair enough.
Doesn't he look handsome
when he smartens himself up?
He's learning. l've always told him
he should model himself on me.
...that your daughter Evelyn
and your two boys are being held illegally.
And you'll be taking on
some pretty top people?
Yeah. We're gonna call
the Minister of Education as a witness.
And I've often asked myself,
''What drives Desmond Doyle?''
-I love my children.
I'm sick of saying goodbye to them
all the time.
I just don't want them
to spend their whole childhood crying.
-Has a date been set for the trial?
-Not yet.
But l want my kiddies home for Christmas.
Home for Christmas.
That's an inspiring note on which to end...
this little conversation with Canning.
Holy Jesus.
This thing will never catch on.
...and we'll be following your case closely.
And now...
the beautiful strains of the Irish harp.
Some good news, some bad news.
First, the good news. They've set a date.
-Second week in December.
lt's a great time to have a trial.
-Even judges are sentimental at Christmas.
-Not all of them, l'm afraid.
Guess who we've got again.
-Ferris the Ferret?
He's been elevated
to the Supreme Court, apparently.
Lousy luck.
Luck's got nothing to do with it.
lf you ask me, the State's planted him there
in an attempt to scupper us.
Come on, eat up, there's plenty more.
Here, have a nice big fat sausage.
We're gonna make you lovely and lazy.
Might slow you up a bit.
Sorry, Sam, nothing for you.
You're gonna get your feast after the race.
They're off, and it's a close-packed field
at the start now.
Come on!
Stay up there, my boy.
Stay up. Yes!
They're battling it out, neck and neck.
Slippery Sam's edged in front.
And as they come around the bend...
Slippery Sam putting on
a tremendous effort.
O'Leary, how did you know?
Let's say l knew he was hungry for a win.
-Good man.
The readers of the Irish Times
have voted you the Man of the Year.
-How do you feel about that?
-l'm honored. Who was second?
-The Pope.
-Fair play to him.
Come on, Bernadette.
-Let's go and collect our winnings.
-Right you are.
Desmond, l've got a few bob, myself.
-How's it going with Bernadette, then?
ln fact, l asked her to come back
to America with me, when the case is over.
What did she say?
She said she'd think about it.
l asked her to move in with me.
What did she say?
She said she'd think about it.
-Who knows what she'll do.
-Fatima Mansions versus the USA.
Tough choice.
Sister, why don't you cut my hair?
You've cut everybody else's.
Because they are not likely
to have their photos all over the newspaper.
Why should that make a difference?
l don't think that l should be treated special
just because my daddy's getting famous.
But didn't your daddy tell us
not to cut your hair?
Yes, and didn't he tell you
to let me go home?
You didn't take a blind bit of notice.
lf l were to cut your hair,
Sister Theresa would not be amused.
l'll explain to my daddy if he gets cross.
And who will explain it to Sister Theresa
if she gets cross?
You, Sister.
Hugh Canning reporting to you, live,
from outside the Supreme Court...
on the first day of this historic case.
A grand, official car has just arrived.
lt's the Minister of Education.
Looks as if he'd rather be
somewhere else, this day.
This must be what soldiers feel like
just before battle.
l'm only trying to make legal history...
by doing something that's never been
done before, and if l fail, l'm unemployable.
But if you win, son, you're immortal.
You're in the history books.
And you'll help take this country
out of the Dark Ages.
Rosary beads.
l thought you weren't religious.
l'm not.
When the verdict comes in,
these are for counting the score.
Remember, Nick, speak from your heart.
l'll sit up in the gallery,
out of the Ferret's eye-line.
Thanks, Tom.
-Good luck, son.
-Thanks for everything.
Let the battle commence.
-ls this all right?
-lt's fine.
Minister, three times now
you have refused...
to reconsider the case of Desmond Doyle.
ls that correct?
lt is. A decision subsequently upheld
by the High Court.
Yes, but the grounds for our action now
are fundamentally different, is that not so?
l suppose it is.
Could you tell us, Minister, to whom or
to what do you owe your eminent position?
Your job, sir. Who appointed you?
Objection, Your Lordship.
This is irrelevant, not to say insolent.
My lord...
counsel for the plaintiff
has indeed failed to establish relevance.
l am about to do so, Your Lordship.
l hope so, Mr. Barron. Proceed.
As Minister for Education, you are
a government appointee, are you not?
Of course l am.
What is the document on which
the lrish government's authority...
and therefore your authority, rests?
The lrish Constitution.
Have you read it recently?
Objection, Your Lordship.
This is insufferable!
Counsel for the plaintiff is not displaying
due deference to the witness, my lord.
Objection sustained.
Be careful, Mr. Barron.
The witness must be treated with respect.
Yes, my lord.
l would be grateful
if you could read out to the Court...
those short extracts
from the lrish Constitution...
which, we have established,
is the basis for your authority.
''Article 1 .
''The lrish Constitution shall be consistent
with the law of God.
''Article 41 .
''A parent and child have a fundamental
and God-given right...
''to the enjoyment of each other's
mutual society.
''Article 42.
''A blameless parent shall not be deprived
of his or her right...
''to direct the child's education.''
ls it fair to say
that by consistently rejecting...
Desmond Doyle's application
for the return of his children...
you have denied him
that fundamental and God-given right?
Would it be fair to say that, Minister?
We are waiting for your response.
That is a possibility.
And is it also a possibility...
that you have contravened
Article 42 of the Constitution...
by denying Desmond Doyle
the right to direct his children's education?
That is also a possibility.
-That is what we are here to determine.
And we will so determine.
Good boy.
No further questions.
Well done.
Article 42 of the Constitution...
refers to a blameless parent.
And we contend that this concept
is tacit also in Article 41 .
That it is the blameless parent...
who has a fundamental, God-given right
to his children's society.
does not apply to Desmond Doyle.
He came barging in, unannounced,
to the main building.
He was in a terrible rage...
and he looked like a man
possessed by the Devil.
Objection. Your Lordship,
the witness is demonizing my client.
Not so, my lord. The Sister
is merely expressing herself vividly...
using a figure of speech
appropriate to her occupation.
Objection overruled. Proceed, Sister.
He was like a man possessed.
He shouted at me, ''Where is my daughter?''
-He yelled at the top of his voice.
-And what did you say to him, Sister?
-l asked him if he had an appointment.
-And what did he say?
He grabbed me by the throat
and almost choked the life out of me.
Throttling me, he was.
He said if l didn't tell him
where his daughter was...
he would tear me limb from limb.
Those were his exact words.
-l thought he was going to murder me.
-And what did he do then, Sister?
l told him where the girl was
and he ran upstairs...
repeating his threats as he did so.
My neck was black and blue
from where his thumbs had been.
Did you report
this deplorable incident to anyone?
Yes, l phoned the police.
They will confirm every word.
Sister Theresa decided, out of the charity
of her heart, not to press charges.
No further questions, my lord.
Have l messed it up for us all, then?
You may have.
We're just gonna have to show
that this was an isolated incident...
not part of a pattern of behavior.
-l hope that was the only such incident?
-Of course it was.
Apart from the time you tried to punch
Father O'Malley at Fergal's.
-And when you tried to kidnap your kids.
-Yes, but l was drunk on both occasions.
For God's sake, don't try to use
drunkenness as a defense.
lt doesn't impress them.
Haven't you heard the phrase,
''As sober as a judge''?
So, you see, Your Lordship...
l only shook Sister Brigid when
l found out she'd beaten up my little girl.
-l object, Your Lordship.
-Not as much as l object.
l object to anyone laying a finger
on my kids.
Objection upheld.
That's Mr. Wolfe's objection,
not yours, Mr. Doyle.
Continue with your testimony.
Wouldn't any father have done what l did?
Evelyn's face was all battered and bruised.
Silence in court.
Even as a very dubious kind of Catholic...
who finds himself throttling a nun...
you must know that the fundamental
building block of our society...
is the family...
whose very model is the Holy family...
Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
How can you, as a single father
and as a Catholic...
possibly claim to bring up your children
without a mother?
There is absolutely no precedent for it...
in the religion
in which you allegedly believe.
Cat got your tongue...
Mr. Doyle?
There is....
There is a precedent, as you'd like to call it.
What are you saying?
The fundamental building block of our faith
is not the Holy family...
it's the Holy Trinity.
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
When my mother died...
my father brought us up on his own...
with only the Holy Spirit to guide him.
He used to say the Holy Spirit was love.
Doesn't the Holy Bible say,
''...faith, hope and love...
''but the greatest of these is love''?
l've given up the drink.
l've worked all the hours God sends.
l've become a better person
to try and fill myself with the Holy Spirit...
so l can bring my kids up
surrounded by love.
That's all l can do.
No man can do more.
Silence in court.
No further questions.
Your Lordship, we would request
that the court is recalled...
when we have subpoenaed
our next witness...
Evelyn Doyle.
The bastards.
They'll intimidate the little soul.
Lord Jesus, l have to go to the big court
soon, to answer some questions.
Please let my daddy win.
l know you're testing him,
but l think he's getting very tired.
Lord, please let him win.
-Hello, love.
Your hair.
l told them to cut it.
Don't you like it?
lt's lovely, pet.
lt suits you.
You've got your new shoes on again.
You've got to go now.
Bye, Daddy.
Silence in court.
The court will draw itself to order.
Now, Evelyn Doyle...
do you remember the time in St. Joseph's,
when you tripped in the corridor...
and bashed your face,
when you fell down the stairs?
No, sir.
Think back to last March.
Apparently, Sister Felicity
had to give you some aspirin.
lsn't that correct?
-Yes, sir, she did.
-And why was that?
Because my face was all swollen
and black and blue.
Because you had fallen down the stairs.
No. That's what Sister Brigid said.
According to Sister Felicity,
you made no attempt...
to deny the fact that you had fallen
down the stairs and bruised your face.
You didn't say otherwise, did you?
l mean, yes.
l'm all mixed up.
So, what really happened...
was exactly what Sister Brigid said
had happened.
And you made up a story
in your letter to your father...
because you wanted to get out
of St. Joseph's...
and you thought a little lie would help.
l didn't lie. l didn't make it up.
l know it must be a frightening
experience for you, Evelyn...
being a little girl in a big court like this.
You must try not to be scared. Even though
you're alone in front of all these people.
l'm not scared anymore, Your Lordship,
and l'm not alone.
My granddad is here with me.
See. He's letting us know he's here.
Your Lordship, the child's grandfather
died some months ago.
She obviously has a very...
vivid imagination.
Now, child...
let me ask you one last time...
do you remember falling in the corridor
and hitting your face on the stairs?
No, l didn't fall on the stairs.
l was going to tell Sister Felicity
what really happened...
but then l thought
it would only get Sister Brigid into trouble.
So, l prayed that God
would forgive Sister Brigid for hitting me.
This is a preposterous assertion.
Why on earth
would the good Sister hit you?
Because l said she shouldn't belt Annette
for getting her catechism wrong.
Poor little innocent. Shame on you.
She was better off with Desmond Doyle.
l can see that now.
-Wait till l get you outside!
-Silence in court!
Evelyn Doyle...
do you expect this court to believe
that after she did that to you...
-you prayed for her?
-Yes, l did.
l put it to you that you are lying.
Lying is a sin
against the Eighth Commandment.
''Thou shalt not bear false witness
against thy neighbor.''
l'm surprised you don't know that,
if you're a lawyer.
Sister Brigid told this court
the truth of the matter...
that she picked you up
when you fell down the stairs.
No. That's not true.
Hope she goes to confession soon.
-Wanna hear the prayer l said last night?
-We do not.
Not so, Mr. Wolfe.
lt is material to the court's evaluation
of the child's character.
Evelyn, let us hear your prayer, please.
''Lord God...
''you guide the universe
with wisdom and love.
''Hear the prayer we make to you
for our country...
''the beautiful country of lreland.
''Through the honesty of our citizens,
and the wisdom of those who govern us...
''may lasting peace be delivered...
''and truth and justice flourish.''
-She's a credit to you.
-Thank you.
Thank you, Evelyn. You may step down.
The great day has finally arrived.
The day Desmond Doyle and his kids,
and indeed the whole of lreland...
has been waiting for.
The day when Desmond finds out,
once and for all...
whether he will get his kids back.
Sister, why couldn't me and the boys
go to court today?
Because they don't want a repeat
of the scenes they had last time.
The Lord Mayor of Dublin has just
appeared in his official limousine...
and a beautiful car it is, too.
l would remind you, however,
that never before...
has a law been found repugnant
to the lrish Constitution...
and that has to happen today,
if Desmond Doyle is to win.
l now call on Justice Ferris
to deliver his judgment.
l am persuaded by Mr. Wolfe's argument
on behalf of the Minister for Education...
that the term ''parent''...
in Articles 41 and 42 of the Constitution...
must be held to imply both parents.
There is no contradiction
between those Articles...
and Section 10 of the Children's Act...
and said Act
is not repugnant to the Constitution.
l, therefore, find in favor of the defendant,
the Minister for Education.
l'll strangle that ferret one day.
lt's 1-0 to the Minister, with 2 votes to go.
The next Judge, Justice Daley,
must vote for Desmond...
or it's all over for the Doyles.
Don't despair, my child. Have faith.
...or there'll be rioting going on.
l agree with Mr. Wolfe...
that the Minister for Education has,
at all times...
acted in a reasonable
and conscientious manner...
within the provisions of the Children's Act.
l also agree with my learned
and honorable friend, Justice Ferris...
that there is no precedent for declaring...
an lrish Statute
repugnant to the Constitution...
-Please God, grant us a ''however.''
-...and therefore invalid.
However, despite the absence
of precedent...
l find Mr. Barron's argument persuasive.
ln any event, with respect to
my learned friend, Mr. Ferris...
it is the duty of the Supreme Court...
not only to follow precedent...
but to set it.
On the grounds submitted...
that the Children's Act 1941, Section 10...
contravenes a parent's fundamental,
God-given right...
to the society of his children...
and is therefore repugnant
to the Constitution...
l find in favor of the plaintiff,
Desmond Doyle.
Marvelous! Children,
don't you stop praying now.
...the Supreme Court. Now it all rests on the
shoulders of Justice Lynch, a Kerry man.
The tension in here is almost unbearable.
I can't think of anything like it, since
Tom Connolly's last-second penalty goal...
that won Ireland the Triple Crown,
30 years ago.
And amazingly...
Connolly is now part
of Desmond Doyle's team.
l have been impressed
by Desmond Doyle's diligence...
and determination in rebuilding
his financial and domestic circumstances...
in the wake of
his wife's unfortunate desertion.
l have noted, too,
the obvious bonds of love and affection...
between Doyle and his daughter, Evelyn...
who made a deep impression on me,
and l'm sure, on all of us...
-in the witness stand.
-Please, no. Don't give us a ''however.''
However, we are officers of the law...
and must not be guided by sentiment.
Though Mr. Barron
made a moving and powerful plea...
on behalf of his client...
a stirring appeal to the heart...
we, as law officers, must determine cases
with the head, not the heart.
Tom, have we lost?
l agree with my learned friend,
Justice Ferris...
-Yes, unless he says another ''however.''
-...that it is regrettable...
that no precedent has been cited
in support of Mr. Doyle's case.
though no precedent can be found
in lrish law...
we can argue
from an analogous English case.
ln the Crown versus Clark, 1891 ...
the principle of a parent's inalienable right
to his or her children...
was enshrined in common law.
...the parent's right...
could, as common law,
be overridden by statute.
-Yes, dear God.
...unlike the English...
we lrish have a written Constitution...
so that, in the words
of Evelyn Doyle's prayer:
''truth and justice may flourish.''
l find it unarguably true,
as Mr. Barron contends...
a parent has
an inalienable and God-given right...
to the society of his children.
l therefore find
in favor of the plaintiff, Mr. Doyle.
We did it!
Desmond Doyle has won!
Glory be to God!
-Praise be to God!
-Sister, we've won.
Darling child, don't you forget me.
l won't, Sister. l love you.
You'll be needing
a housekeeper now, won't you?
Love and glory, boys!
Legal history has been made.
Evelyn's won. We can all go home soon!
Oh, my love. Good to see you.
Let me see you.
You look gorgeous.
Don't worry, Heidi. l didn't forget you.
Let's connect these two together now.
Some tea, too?
Children, come and sit down, turkey's ready.
Evelyn, Maurice, Dermot,
come and sit down, everybody.
-l am starving.
-Okay, crackers. Get a cracker, lads.