Monday 22 January 2018

IRA series 'seriously stains TG4'

Board member demands rethink over Mna an IRA

THIN BLUE LINE: A small force of gardai contained angry protesters outside the British Embassy in Ballsbridge, Dublin, during the hunger strikes in 1981.
THIN BLUE LINE: A small force of gardai contained angry protesters outside the British Embassy in Ballsbridge, Dublin, during the hunger strikes in 1981.


A board member of TG4 has said the Irish language station must urgently re-examine the remaining programmes in a series on IRA women for "balance and historical context".

The demand follows the first episode of the taxpayer-funded series Mna an IRA which featured Dr Rose Dugdale, the unrepentant convicted terrorist.

Concubhar O Liathain, who is a member of the TG4 board, said that Mna an IRA is a "serious stain" on the television station's record of achievement.

He has asked TG4 director general Pol O Gallchoir and the chairman of the board Peter Quinn to review the remaining programmes which feature female Republicans Josephine Hayden, Pamela Kane, Martina Anderson, Roseleen Walsh and Rosie McCorley.

Josephine Hayden served five years in prison for possession of weapons; Pamela Kane was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment after a 1990 bank robbery in Enniscorthy; and Martina Anderson was convicted of conspiring to cause explosions in England.

Roseleen Walsh was interned in Armagh Prison from 1973 to 1974 and released without charge.

Rosie McCorley was jailed in 1991 for 66 years for the attempted murder of an army officer and possession of explosives. She was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

"If the first programme is any indication of what's to come, it will be nauseating and heartbreaking for the victims of the IRA and their relatives," Mr O Liathain writes in today's Sunday Independent on page 20.

"Right from the title sequence where Dr Dugdale was described as a 'saighdiuir/ soldier' and a member of Oglaigh na hEireann, Mna an IRA struck the wrong chord.

"How could Dr Dugdale be described as a 'soldier' despite never having enlisted in a real army, bound by international laws and conventions regarding human rights, as opposed to an illegal paramilitary force?

"How could a programme, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland and broadcast on TG4, be allowed to describe the Provisional IRA as Oglaigh na hEireann when the only force on this island to legitimately use that name is our Defence Forces?"

An interview with Dr Dugdale conducted on RTE radio last Wednesday by John Murray to promote the TG4 series was criticised because of the perception that Dr Dugdale was given a soft ride.

In the interview Dr Dugdale dismissed the notion of IRA "atrocities".

In a joint statement, the producers of Mna an IRA, Vanessa Gildea and Martina Durac, told the Sunday Independent: "We stand over the approach taken. As independent viewers, they (the public) are more than equipped. . . to make their minds up about how they feel about the actions and activities of the women.

"It [the series] is motivated by an attempt to understand part of the recent history of our country and why certain people became involved in violent activity -- by hearing their personal stories and finding out what motivated them into such drastic action.

"It is not a current affairs-style probe into their lives and activities and had it been so, a different approach would have been employed."

Sunday Independent

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