Citizen Alec

Director: Darragh Mac Intyre

Ireland 2003. Colour. 59mins.

In May 2002, Belfast City Council elected a new Lord Mayor: Alec Maskey, the first Sinn Fein mayor of Belfast.
It’s a year of challenges and contrasts as Mayor Maskey maintains a delicate balance between reaching out to a suspicious Unionist community without alienating his Republican heritage – and remain a Mayor for all the people of Belfast. In a city where gestures and symbols carry tremendous political weight, enemies on both sides of the divide watch his every move.
Writer/director Darragh MacIntyre spent a year with Alec Maskey getting close to his past, his present, his politics and his hopes for the future. A former boxer, twice interned and the survivor of Loyalist assassination squads, Alec Maskey presents the hard face of Irish Republicanism. In a year in which dramatic political upheavals overshadowed City Hall, would the party political mask slip? It’s a journey that takes Maskey to Britain, Europe and the United States, sidestepping both enemies and allies; but the film is rooted in Belfast’s City Hall – that archetypal bastion of Unionist dominance – and the chain of office around Mayor Maskey’s neck that makes him First Citizen Alec.

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