New film about Kildare farmer who fought battle to keep his family's land

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New film about Kildare farmer who fought battle to keep his family's land
6:35 Wednesday 14th of February 2018

A new documentary - The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid - tells the story of Thomas Reid, a Co Kildare farmer who, for years, has been locked in a gruelling battle with his neighbour — U.S. microchip manufacturer, Intel who want to expand into Reid’s land.

When his farm in Leixlip was the subject of a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), Thomas decided to risk everything by challenging the state body in a battle through the courts.

In 2015, Reid (56) won a Supreme Court appeal against a decision by the High Court to allow the IDA to compulsorily acquire land he and his family had worked for more than a century.

He sued the IDA and the State after an order was granted permitting the development agency to acquire the 72-acre property, which includes a farm and the Reid family home, Hedsor House.

The house and farm has been in Thomas' family for more than 100 years since it was first acquired by his grandfather Thomas in the early 1900s.

In the Supreme Court, the judges ruled that the IDA’s powers of compulsory purchase did not give it the power to buy land it had no immediate use for or land to be set aside for future development.

The film was selected for the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) - the world’s largest documentary film festival.

It will be screened at the Dublin International Film Festival later this month.

Produced by Luke McManus of FSE Films, the film presents a unique insight into Reid’s struggle to hold onto his lands and home in the face of considerable odds.The film is edited and sound designed by Tadhg O’Sullivan (Song of Granite, The Great Wall, Silence)

Director Feargal Ward said: “It’s great to have the opportunity to bring this film to IDFA and to introduce Thomas Reid’s story to a wider audience. The subject matter at the centre of this film — the extent to which the State will go to facilitate the interests of global corporations — is both an important issue of our time and of this country; and one I was instantly drawn to explore.”

Producer Luke McManus added: “I’ve been a fan of Feargal Ward and Tadhg O’Sullivan’s distinctive, unusual filmmaking voice for years. The combination of Feargal’s stunning cinematography with Tadhg’s powerful sense of atmosphere and accomplished sound design reinforces the immersive, hypnotic qualities of the film. Being part of the Main Competition at IDFA is hugely exciting for the film and we are thrilled to be part of this excellent festival as the film begins its journey out into the world.”

The Lonely Battle of Thomas Reid was funded by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board.

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