Tuesday 18 June 2019

Victims' fury as RTE claims 'no appetite' for movie

Ken Sweeney

VICTIMS last night expressed anger at RTE's refusal to screen an award-winning film about the survivors of clerical abuse.

The makers of the drama 'Beyond The Fire' were taken aback when the State broadcaster turned down an opportunity to screen the film, which has won widespread acclaim.

Despite a spate of recent clerical abuse controversies, RTE claimed there was "not much appetite" for movies about the subject.

Director Maeve Murphy interviewed a number of victims of clerical abuse -- including Colm O'Gorman of the charity One in Four -- before penning the script, which depicts a romance between survivors of clerical sexual abuse.

It was awarded 'Best Feature' at the London Independent Film Awards.

But when the distributors of the film approached RTE to screen it last month, they were told acquisitions were limited and that there was little appetite for movies about the subject.


Ms Murphy said: "This response from RTE really amazed me. I think people are now facing the truth and about everything that has happened. Films and stories are a way for people to look at this in an accessible way."

The film-maker added: "Having their stories told can also be very cathartic for victims because their experience is acknowledged, believed and understood."

Mervyn Rundle, who was abused by serial paedophile Fr Tom Naughton in the mid-1980s, said he was horrified by RTE's attitude.

"At one stage, the church kept their stories from being told, now it seems RTE is doing the church's work for them," he said.

However, a spokeswoman for RTE said last night: "We have broadcast a number of movies dealing with abuse in the recent past, including 'The Magdalene Sisters', 'Angela's Ashes' and 'The Butcher Boy'.

"We are now seeking to engage and understand this very difficult and upsetting area of contemporary Irish life through documentary."

Irish Independent

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