Pádraig's film to inform Oireachtas hearing on organ trade fears
The film-making skills of one Kerry man are set to help inform an Oireachtas hearing this week of concerns internationally over organ transplant 'tourism' to China - seeing executed prisoners' organs sold to foreigners in dire need of transplants.
Kerry filmmaker Pádraig Ó Dálaigh was part of the team to have made the film that's to be screened before the committee.
Apart from editing the entire piece, Pádraig - who trained as a cameraman under RTÉ Cork - also carried out the main interview with human rights lawyer David Matas that features as the main subject of the informative short.
Matas has already succeeded in convincing the Israeli Government to make it illegal for its citizens to travel to China for organ transplants.
"Those travelling for transplants are usually not aware of where the organs are coming from, but it's widely accepted now that most of the organs are harvested from executed prisoners," Pádraig told The Kerryman. China appears to have acknowledged as much and claims to be taking steps to address it, but its assurances are not enough for many worldwide.
One of the main groups responsible for bringing the practice to light has been the millions of adherents of the Falun Gong on whom the regime cracked down in the late 1990s when it emerged in a census there were nearly twice as many adherents than there were members of the Community Party in China.
And their simply physical and spiritual practices of gentle exercises and meditation are close to Pádraig's heart having helped him manage chronic illness in recent months.
"The regime cracked down hard on them, rounding adherents up and incarcerating them in labour camps where they were tortured and even executed," Pádraig explained.
"And their organs are believed to have been of particular preference in harvesting because those who follow Falun Gong are clean living and very healthy."
Pádraig is himself a walking example of the benefits of Falun Gong. He first became familiar with the practice through friends at Trinity College over ten years ago.
"I was diagnosed with type one diabetes over a year ago. I kept on blacking out at work and was only managing to scrape by energy wise. I had to go on four injections a day for what I was told would be the rest of my life as it's a chronic illness."
He turned to Falun Gong and the ancient Buddhist and Daoist practices of meditation and exercise just a few months ago in the hope of improving his health. The results he claims are extraordinary: "I'm not taking any medication whatsoever and haven't done so for five weeks now.
"The diabetes seems to be completely gone and I feel transformed healthwise. It has taken a few months of practising Falun Gong, which is essentially about cultivating mind-body and based on the three key principles of truth, compassion and tolerance," Pádraig explained.