Documentary On One, RTÉ tracks on Soundclound

#doc-on-one

Does My Bum Sound Big In This?
Documentary On One, RTÉ

Joyce is 55 years old and is, by her own admission, ‘living a half-life’. She has always been overweight but now is severely obese to the extent that her life has been affected dramatically. Five years ago Joyce developed chronic arthritis which means that she is in severe pain. Her movement is now so restricted that she rarely leaves the house and this sedentary life has led to her gaining an extra four stone – and this extra weight has been the tipping point for her life. In March 2016, after several years on the waiting list, she secured a place for treatment with the Weight Management Service in Loughlinstown, Co. Dublin, where one possible treatment is bariatric surgery – more commonly known as gastric band surgery. However, before she goes down this drastic surgery route, she’s going to try everything she can with the help of the team at the clinic to lose weight. In this documentary we follow Joyce over two years as she tries to lose weight and explores the reasons why she might have ended up in this place in her life. Joyce sees this as her ‘last chance’ to get a normal life back again. Joyce makes people howl with laughter. Even facing such huge challenges in her life, she remains a vibrant creative person. She has a solid group of good friends but is also aware that her self-esteem is now low. Before she had to give up work she worked in theatre and is passionate about film, culture and the arts in general. At her first meeting at the Weight Management Clinic in May 2016 Joyce’s was taken by surprise by feelings of both shock and shame. Though she knew in an abstract sense that she was very overweight, she would never have identified with the other obese people attending for the treatment at the clinic. She knows that the reasons for her being overweight are complicated and for Joyce it’s a constant battle to feel ok about herself and to stay hopeful. This documentary explores the complex reasons behind obesity and the challenges and prejudices that someone who inhabits an obese body faces. As obesity statistics multiply worldwise, we ask what’s it like to be one of these statistics? What is the physical and emotional impact on your life, your health and your well-being of being obese? And, most importantly for Joyce, is it possible to recover and regain all these things?

Storytelling
351
The Reindeer Santa Left Behind
Documentary On One, RTÉ

An Exclusive - Recorded over the last year, this is the incredible story which began last Christmas Eve just as Santa arrived into Ireland and Blitzen, one of his reindeers got badly injured. Over the course of last Christmas Eve, an incredible series of events took place involving Santa Claus and his reindeers - and the Mulready family who live on a remote farm in Co. Wexford. The story began when Santa Claus and his nine reindeers set off from the North Pole on Christmas Eve. Santa Claus's team of flying reindeer are Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Rudolp, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. They had journeyed half way across the world, working through all the time zones to ensure each child in every country received their Christmas gifts on time. After a rough landing just outside Edinburgh in Scotland, Blitzen (one of Santa’s reindeers) hurt his hoof badly. Just as Santa arrived over Ireland, it quickly became apparent that Blitzen would not be able to continue. He needed immediate assistance. Santa Claus had a decision to make. If he went back to the North Pole, carrying Blitzen on his sleigh, there is no way he would have time to deliver all his presents to all of the children all over the world in one night. This could have been the first time ever that some children did not receive their presents in time for Christmas. Imagine the Mulready family’s surprise when they heard a knock on the door in the very early hours of Christmas morning. None other than Santa Claus was standing at the front door, covered in snow flakes. He asked if the Mulready’s could help him out. “There’s been an accident in Scotland', he said glumly, 'Would they be kind enough to take Blitzen in and nurse him back to health as he just couldn’t go on?' The Mulready's didn’t need any time to decide. The decision was made there and then – they would do whatever it took to bring Blitzen back to health. It took nearly twelve months to get Blitzen back to full fitness and it was only in early December of this year, that Santa Claus came back to collect Blitzen - just in the time for this Christmas.

documentary
1,191
Perfume Isles Fatal Lure
Documentary On One, RTÉ

Douamour climbs into a small fishing boat to travel across open sea to try to get into the European Union.  Around his neck, he’s carrying a small audio recorder for the Documentary On One. The driver of Douamour’s boat will try to get past French patrol boats and and get his illegal migrant passengers into the EU. But this is not the usual story of migrants into the EU crossing the Mediterranean.  Doaumour and his fellow passengers are thousands of miles south:  in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Africa, north of Madagascar.  They are about to cross one of the EU’s most southern borders.  They’re heading from the Union of Comoros islands to the island of Mayotte, which is part of France and, therefore part of the EU. The journey is dangerous – it takes, at least, three hours – longer if they’re trying to avoid border patrols.  Also, the boats are not suited for the open water – some are only 20ft. long.    Because they’re so unstable, they’ve been nicknamed, "kwassa kwassa boats" – kwassa kwassa is a form of hip-swaying Congolese dance invented in the 1980s which became popular all over Africa. That jokey nickname belies the fact that the stretch of water around Mayotte has been described as "the widest cemetery in the world" – thousands have died when these kwassa kwassa boats have capsized. So, why do the passengers squeeze into these kwassa kwassa boats?    Some are pregnant women who know that, if they can give birth on Mayotte, the child will get French citizenship and the family can travel to France.  Some of the passengers are going for work – they can get €400 per month on Mayotte, working illegally.  Not much, but a lot more than the €12 per month they can expect on their home islands.   Others are going for medical treatment – the hospitals in the Union of Comoros are understaffed and underresourced and the French hospital on Mayotte treats allcomers. Finally, some passengers in the boats are travelling to be reunited with family members on Mayotte.  The French use radar, helicopters and patrol boats to intercept the kwassa kwassa boats of illegal migrants. And that’s what happened Douamour, the migrant recording his journey for the Documentary On One.   He used to live on Mayotte wth his wife and children but was caught and deported.  He didn’t get the chance to say ‘good bye’ to his family.   If he did get the chance, though, he would not have taken it – his wife and children would have been arrested and deported too. The island of Mayotte is not big – it’s 40km long by 20km wide – the population is 260,000.  Incredibly, almost half this population is illegal. The hospitals and schools are struggling.  Crime is a real issue, partly because of gangs of hungry and unemployed teenagers.   And the illegals from the other islands are not the only economic migrants to Mayotte.  French teachers, medics and police have arrived on the island to work, attracted by the 40% tax break given by the French government to take up posts there. So, when Douamour gets into the kwassa kwassa boat to make the night-time journey to Mayotte, he is part of global movement of people to better themselves economically.  But he is also part of a local phenomenon brought about by partition and a particularly hard border.   Douamour wonders if he will manage to make a new life for himself and his family on Mayotte.      But the more immediate questions for him is this:  Will he survive the journey or will his kwassa kwassa be intercepted and all the passengers deported or, worse still, will it capsize on open water?

Storytelling
693
A New Niamh
Documentary On One, RTÉ

Niamh has decided to give up shoplifting for Christmas. She put that simple pledge on Facebook for her grandson’s sake. She’s in been in prison before when her son was small and she doesn’t want another small boy to see her in prison again. She wants him to know a new Niamh: The one who writes poetry does stand-up comedy and is famous on Facebook for making people laugh. But, it won’t be easy. Stealing is profitable and thrilling. Turning over a new leaf is a daily struggle and getting through Christmas is especially tough - her clients contact her asking her to rob Christmas presents for them. But Niamh is determined - will she succeed?

Storytelling
1,003
The Little Mouse in the Corner
Documentary On One, RTÉ

"You're not shy, you're just quietly confident" That's what Pauline Dunne's mother told her to say when she was growing up and people would ask her the inevitable: "Why are you so shy?"  Another way of describing someone who is ‘quietly confident’ is as an ‘introvert’.  Which, it turns out, Pauline is. This realisation explained a lot. The school reports, the constant requests to speak up, her complete lack of ease with small talk.    Like others, she’d gone around for years thinking there was something wrong with her. So when she found out that being an introvert is perfectly normal and, actually, something you’re born as, she couldn't stay quiet anymore. She had to do her part in clearing the names of introverts everywhere. Or, at least the ones in Ireland. So, she decided to make a radio documentary about it.   In the documentary, Pauline found out that the experts define being an introvert as 'not being an extrovert'. But defining someone by what they lack doesn't seem fair, so this documentary also highlights the many things that introverts can bring to the table, when given the right opportunity. She also discovered that introverts in America have an advanced campaign in schools to make sure introvert children get the same chances as everyone else.  In fact, they say, one of the characteristics of being an introvert, not answering immediately but thinking something out carefully, can be of benefit to a whole class. Making the documentary, Pauline tells her own life story as an introvert.  She also spoke to other people who consider themselves introverts, many of whom have chosen less-than-typical lifestyles considering their personality-type:  For example, Sam Coll is an author - ideal introvert work - but he also works as an actor.   Mark Walsh, has a career in the kind of job you would rarely associate with someone who'd rather not hog the limelight: public relations. While being proud of her introversion, in the documentary, Pauline also decides to try something that may appeal more to the extroverts among us, and which she dreads:  public-speaking.  She joined her local Toastmasters Club and agreed to learn how to make a speech. The speech was about the joys and miseries of being an introvert and was entitled, "The Little Mouse in the Corner".  She had no problem writing the speech; all she had to do was stand up and deliver it to a room full of people.  How did she get on?

Storytelling
780
The Occupation
Documentary On One, RTÉ

‘The Occupation’ tells the story of how a small group of anti-war protesters caused a multinational arms manufacturer to leave Derry. The Raytheon company, makers of the Tomahawk cruise and Patriot missile systems, set up a software facility in Derry in 1999. It was hailed at the time as part of a ‘peace dividend’ following the signing of the Good Friday agreement of 1998. In 2006, after years of protest by the Derry Anti-War Coalition, the company’s offices were occupied and computer equipment was deliberately destroyed. The protestors were tried and acquitted by a jury at Belfast Crown court after successfully arguing that that were acting in defense of the innocent in south Lebanon, where missiles manufactured by the company had been used by the Israeli Defence Forces. In 2010 Raytheon pulled out of Derry but refused to admit it was because of the actions of the anti-war protesters. Michael Bradley worked for BBC Radio Foyle at the time and felt the story didn’t get the attention it deserved and the acquittal had far-reaching implications. Michael returns from Japan, where he now lives, to follow up on the story. It took a freedom of information request by a Derry Journal reporter to confirm that it was the actions of the protesters that caused Raytheon to leave Derry. Journalist, author and politician Eamonn McCann, who led the protests, says the occupation was his proudest moment in more than forty years of social activism. The documentary also features Joe Brolly who was a barrister for some of the protestors and argued in court that the protesters were acting in defence of the innocent in South Lebanon.

Storytelling
1,032
A Man Out Of Time
Documentary On One, RTÉ

In the middle of O’Connell bridge, in the heart of Dublin, there is a 6x8 inch space in which two stories intersect. In this space today is a plaque which commemorates a Fr. Pat Noise who is said to have died when his carriage plunged into the Liffey in mysterious circumstances in August 1919. This spot on the bridge was also where the postcard machine attached to Dublin’s millennium clock was located in 1996. In this documentary, we attempt to shed light on the enigmatic Fr. Pat Noise and discover just what happened to the millennium clock and its 120 million seconds. Dublin is home to many famous commemorative works, some controversial and other less so but none as mysterious as the plaque to Fr. Pat Noise. The small bronze plaque is situated on the busiest bridge in the country, despite this it went unnoticed after its installation in 2004 for two years. Little is known about Fr. Noise - and what is known, comes from secondhand sources. But the lack of a clear biography has not stopped Fr. Noise from becoming a cultural inspiration for Dubliners and those farther afield. We examine what’s known of Fr. Noise, look at his legacy today and attempt to peel back the myth surrounding him and his plaque. The trial of Fr. Pat Noise led this documentary team to another enigmatic piece of cultural history and urban architecture: the Millennium Clock. After much delay, this six-ton timepiece was installed in the River Liffey, just off O’Connell bridge in March 1996. The project was sponsored by the Lotto and was to countdown the 120 million seconds to the year 2000. However just three days after being switched on to much fanfare live on RTÉ's Late Late Show, the clock was removed to allow for a boat race. The clock proved to be a public relations disaster and while it entered the water with a bang, it left with a whimper in December of that year (1996).

Storytelling
1,065
The Tattooed Irishman
Documentary On One, RTÉ

In 1829, 21 year old Dubliner James F O'Connell found himself shipwrecked on the remote Pacific Island of Pohnpei. Over 13,000km from home, this was a moment that would define his life, but not in a way you might think. Clambering ashore, O'Connell was greeted by island natives brandishing weapons. Years later, O'Connell would write about this moment and how he 'talked' his way out of trouble by dancing an Irish jig. Brought into the local tribe, O'Connell was treated like one of their own, quite literally. He was heavily tattooed about the body as was the local tradition. He even married a daughter of a tribe leader leaving behind some Irish DNA on a remote Pacific island to this day. But Pohnpei was never going to be a lifetime home for O'Connell. His passage back to the western world came courtesy of a passing ship and by the mid 1830's, O'Connell found himself in New York City as a freak amongst men.  Americans had rarely seen tattoos, and with O'Connell's full body tattoo, he quickly gained fame - fêted by many as the first man to bring tattoos to the Western World. He became a seminal figure in the tattoo world and the first tattooed man ever on 'exhibition'. Taking advantage of his notoriety, in 1836, O'Connell published his memoir ‘The Life and Adventures of James F O’Connell, the Tattooed Man’ and for the following two decades, until his death, he performed in the circus and freakshow circuit across the United States. He showed off his tattoo's, regaled his story from Pohnpei - and sold his books. O'Connell tells of the reaction of people in the street to his appearance and of how young girls fainted when they laid eyes on him. Pregnant women were told not to look upon him for fear that their unborn children would be blemished with marks similar to his By 1842, O'Connell was one of the main attractions at Barnum’s American Museum in New York City. This museum was a live 'freak' show, with giants, dwarfs and those with unusual physical traits on show. The museum drew in up to 500,000 visitors a year - and O'Connell, the Tattooed Irishman, was top of the list when it came to live 'freaks'. His tattoos clearly marked his body, whilst also marking him out from the rest of the world. He also built on his story by dancing the famous Irish jig that had saved his life years earlier. Through tattoos and Irish dancing, a showman had come of age. By the time James F O'Connell died in 1854, it's estimated that upwards of 20million people had seen him in person as a result of his years on the freak show circuit. It's rumoured a hornpipe was danced on his grave as a sign of respect. O'Connell had remained a showman to the end of his days. And until very recently, there was a bar and a cocktail drink on Pohnpei bearing the name 'The Tattooed Irishman.' But just who was James F. O'Connell? And why isn't he celebrated back home in his native land? Born on Thomas Street in Dublin on November 10th, 1808, this documentary traces O'Connell's life from his childhood in Dublin to Pohnpei and across to North America. At times, fact, fiction and freaks fuse together to form what is a remarkable story that has come to be known as 'The Tattooed Irishman'.

Storytelling
1,552
Frank Stagg's Three Funerals
Documentary On One, RTÉ

There is a grave in Leigue Cemetery, Ballina, Co. Mayo which has a concrete surface, placed there by the Gárdaí  in 1976, to prevent the body from being stolen.   40 years ago, on November 5th., 1977, the body was removed from the grave, during the night, without disturbing the concrete, and buried elsewhere in the cemetery. The body was that of Frank Stagg, Republican hunger striker, who died in prison in Britain.   When Stagg died, there was a row over his funeral between the Irish government and the Republican movement - with members of his family on both sides.   The Republicans wanted a procession from Dublin Airport to the cemetery in Ballina where Frank would be buried, according to his wishes, in the Republican plot.    But the Irish Government didn’t want a show of Republican strength and diverted the plane, carrying Frank Stagg’s coffin, to Shannon.  Gárdaí seized the body and flew it by helicopter to Mayo and buried the body in a new plot in the Ballina cemetery.   They then placed an armed guard on the grave, for months afterwards, to prevent the body being moved to the Republican plot. What the State authorities hadn’t realised was that the plot beside the grave of Frank Stagg was available to purchase.  Frank’s brother, George, bought that grave.   22 months later, on a cold, windy and rainy night in November with no moon, 6 men came into the graveyard and dug down into the grave owned by George Stagg.   When they were deep enough, they then dug across into Frank Stagg’s concrete plot, slid out the coffin, and carried it to the nearby Republican plot.   A hurried decade of the Rosary was said and Stagg was reburied. Frank Stagg actually has three headstones:  One over the grave dug for him by the Gardai; one over the adjacent grave purchased by his brother, George, saying that his body had been stolen by the "pro-British, Irish government", and one over the Republican Plot. But this was more than a tug-of-war over Frank Stagg’s body, the dispute was an indication of the severe political tension that prevailed,  at the time, as a result of Republican activities in the South and the FG/Labour government’s hardline response to them. In this documentary, George Stagg speaks of the distress for the family arising from the events of the time, former Minister for Justice, Patrick Cooney, talks of the State being under threat from Republicans at the time and a Ballina Republican describes the exhumation and reburial.

Storytelling
977
Do No Harm
Documentary On One, RTÉ

In April 2015, a group of young Irish GP’s in training traveled to the Netherlands to learn about a different approach to end of life care. Most of the trainee GPs assumed this would involve a visit to a highly specialised clinic. Instead, they met a family doctor who sometimes shortened his patients’ lives at their request – he performed euthanasia. Frans Bollen, a 69-year-old retired GP from Almere in Holland presented the trainees with an alternate reality where "unbearable suffering" could be stopped overnight. The group was overwhelmed. Divided. GP’s do this? Could I do that for my patient? Do we do anything like this already in Ireland? The debate travelled home with us. No consensus was reached. One of the group, Dr Luke Dillon needed to know more. In Ireland, it is a crime that could result in 14 years in prison to assist anybody with suicide. And yet there are people in Ireland who are suffering greatly as a result of illness and would prefer to be able to die peacefully and with dignity. Luke met with 51 year old Kate Tobin at her home in Wexford earlier this year to hear her story. Kate is a retired palliative care nurse. Kate is now suffering with progressive MS and suffers greatly every day as a result of her declining health. No longer able to even brush her teeth for herself, she has lost her independence and is in constant pain. Kate is also deeply religious but she believes in her right to die if her suffering becomes too great. However, she knows that in modern Ireland this will not be legally possible. She struggles on, supported by her carers and her loving dog Bruno. Meanwhile, in Our Lady’s Hospice Harold’s Cross, a different approach to suffering is taken. Palliative Care is a relatively young specialty in medicine and its aim is to relieve pain and improving the quality of life for those who are reaching the end of life. The hospice is perhaps a surprisingly positive place. One of the patients there, 86 year old Gabriel Peelo, speaks of how he has found a new lease of life since his admission to the hospice after having a bowel tumor removed in May 2017. Along with availing of palliative care, Gabriel has chosen to take a route that he sees as the least amount of suffering. He has turned down any possibility of chemotherapy or other cancer therapy. Rather than spend what he believes could be the last year of his life being unwell as a result of treatment, he has prioritised making it to his 60th wedding anniversary and enjoying the time that he has left. Luke traveled back to Holland in July 2017. and met up with Frans Bollen. He meets the relatives of people who have undergone euthanasia and discovers that it was not an easy road for them, though they are glad that their loved one’s suffering is now over. Frans Bollen explains that from a medical point of view the criteria for ‘unbearable suffering’ must be met. Through exploring the topic of euthanasia Luke discovers that it may not be as black and white as he had originally thought and leaves him with more questions than answers. Should euthanasia be provided for people who desire it? How can anybody decide what constitutes ‘unbearable suffering’ for another person? And should euthanasia be extended to people who suffer from mental health illnesses as it is in Holland? And what does allowing euthanasia say about a society and the people in it?

Storytelling
983
Richard Hayes, Nazi Codebreaker
Documentary On One, RTÉ

During WW2, one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious communication codes was broken by a mild mannered librarian and family man from West Limerick, Richard Hayes. His day-job was as Director of the National Library of Ireland - but during wartime Europe, he secretly led a team of cryptanalysts as they worked feverishly on the infamous "Görtz Cipher" - a fiendish Nazi code that had stumped some of the greatest code breaking minds at Bletchley Park, the centre of British wartime Cryptography. But who was Richard Hayes? He was a man of many lives. An academic, an aesthete, a loving father and one of World War Two’s most prolific Nazi Codebreakers. At the outbreak of WW2 Hayes, being highly regarded for his mathematical and linguistic expertise was approached by the head of Irish Military Intelligence (G2) Colonel Dan Bryan with a Top Secret mission. At the behest of Taoiseach Éamon de Valera, Hayes was given an office and three lieutenants to decode wireless messages being covertly transmitted via Morse code from a house in north Dublin owned by the German Embassy. The coded messages posed a huge threat to Irish national security and the wider war effort. As Hayes team worked to break the code, it was all academic until he met his greatest challenge yet. The man who was to be his nemesis, Dr. Herman Görtz, a German agent who parachuted into Ireland in 1940 in full Luftwaffe uniform in an attempt to spy and transmit his own coded messages back to Berlin. Hayes the academic was soon to find out the true meaning of war. He stared at the enemy and saw the whites of his eyes. The events that transpired were a battle of wits between the mild mannered genius librarian and his nemesis, the flamboyant Nazi Spy. Hayes has been referred to by MI5 as Irelands "greatest unsung hero" and the American Office of Strategic Services as "a colossus of a man" yet due to the secret nature of his work he is virtually unheard of in his own country. Now, forty-one years after his death, the story of Dr. Richard J. Hayes, the National Librarian who kept Ireland neutral and helped turn the tide of World War Two will be told for the first time.

Storytelling
1,179
COLOMBIA MAKING THE PEACE
Documentary On One, RTÉ

After more than 50 years of fighting, and four years of negotiations, 2016 saw a breakthrough in the long-running armed conflict in Colombia. A tentative peace was arranged with more than 15,000 fighters from the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and other groups agreeing to move to transitional camps and allowing the re-integration of the areas they had occupied into mainstream Colombian society. During the peace talks, a number of Irish politicians, veterans of the Irish peace process and from both sides of the divide, visited the negotiations taking place in Havana, Cuba. Sharing their experience of de-escalating the conflict in Northern Ireland, they gave support to all sides in the talks. A former Irish foreign minister was appointed EU special representative to the peace process as Europe contributed towards the settlement. How does the resolution of the conflict in Colombia compare with the Irish peace process? Although many aspects are different, what lessons can be learned from the strategies used in the Irish process and what can the Colombian course of action offer as a lesson to the North? For long periods during the conflict rebel areas operated as a shadow state with people separated from the rest of Colombian society. What was life like under the FARC and how easy will the transition be for everybody involved? Will the peace bring changes to coca production and Narco trafficking associated with rebel areas and how will that affect the lives of rural dwellers.         Luke Holland has lived and worked in Colombia and has observed the changes there and in Northern Ireland over recent decades. He returns to Columbia to meet the newly demobilised FARC fighters and others who have suffered during the long conflict. He meets those opposed to the peace process who believe the only solution is to destroy the FARC completely. The areas previously under rebel control are now feeling a power vacuum and concern is growing over human rights in rural areas. What contribution can the EU and other outside agencies make to the fragile peace in Colombia?

Storytelling
754
Return to Shark Island
Documentary On One, RTÉ

When a group of six talented and extraordinary people arrived on Achill Island, on the West coast of Ireland in May, 1951 nobody could have foreseen that only two of them would leave alive. The film they had arrived to make, Shark Island would end in the tragedy of being one of the worst film accidents of all time. The shark fishing industry on Achill was the stuff of Hemingway books- men armed with harpoons, battling enormous basking sharks in tiny currachs, trying to kill the fish for their liver oil. It was the excitement of all this that appealed to filmmaker Hugh Falkus, the dashing Spitfire pilot and POW whose life was a walking Boy's Own adventure. After a chance encounter at the BBC in 1950 with Achill shark fisherman Charles Osborne, Falkus knew that his next film would be a kind of docu-drama about the Achill sharkers. The crew arrived in May of '51- Falkus, the actor and producer; his newlywed wife Diana, the film's continuity girl and screenwriter; his business partner, the director Sam Lee (then Britain's greatest stuntman), and the brilliant young cameraman Bill Brendon. Charles Osborne and his family were already living in Achill where he was well-known as a flamboyant daredevil. A few days after the English crew, a young actor from Dublin, Claire Mullan, 20 years old in her first film role, arrived, completely out of her depth. The film was hell for her. She was away from home for the first time and the sea was red with the blood of the slaughtered sharks. As shooting progressed, she was forced into dangerous stunts, climbing cliffs and going out in rough seas in a flimsy little boat all seemingly at the will of the art director and co-star, Osborne, whom she later described as "very reckless". On May 12th, the crew set out to film some jagged rocks, the Daisy Rocks, an area prone to huge, unpredictable waves. A massive swell struck the boat, leaving the crew fighting for their lives in the water. Falkus, a powerful swimmer, swam the mile and a half to shore through the icy sea to get help. But it was too late. By the time he reached land, all had been lost. But Claire Mullan wasn't on that boat. By a stroke of almost supernatural good luck, she was five minutes late that day and the crew had gone to sea without her. But her ordeal wasn't over. Falkus was in a state of shock and so Claire had to identify the two bodies recovered, Sam Lee and Diana Falkus. Charles Osborne and Bill Brendon were never recovered. Sixty-six years on, Return to Shark Island remembers those events on Achill Island with Claire Mullan, now a veteran actor of stage and screen returning to the island to revisit the scenes of the accident and finally try to achieve some closure on something which she has never been able to leave behind.

Storytelling
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Ireland and the KGB
Documentary On One, RTÉ

TYPICALLY, the best spy stories start on dimly lit streets in Eastern Europe not in Dublin suburbia. But in 1983, Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Garret Fitzgerald’s government exposed a KGB spy ring in of all places, Stillorgan Shopping Centre, on the southside of Dublin city! In an unprecedented case, the episode led to diplomatic expulsions during a period of intense Cold War rivalry between the then Soviet Union and the US. But the incident also demonstrated that NATO countries didn’t have a monopoly on the secret and sometimes barely believable world of KGB spying. The spectre of IRA and KGB relations had whispered a subtext through Ireland in the 1970s and by the 1980s. Irish groups were building strong alliances with the then Soviet Union that afforded access to the KGB in Moscow that the CIA could only dream about. Now, in 2017, against the backdrop of a resurgent Russia, Documentary On One: Ireland and the KGB meets Irish people who have been involved, knowingly or unknowingly, in this deeply secret and shadowy world. From the Irishman at the center of a notorious poisoning, to an explosive court trial involving millions in money requests and leaked classified documents, the secret and surreal world of Ireland and the KGB opens in 2017 with a graduate of the same spy school as Vladimir Putin and runs a true life thriller all the way to the north west of Ireland.

Storytelling
950
Cause Of Death
Documentary On One, RTÉ

More than ten thousand deaths a year in Ireland are reported to the Coroner's office. Ruairí McKenna follows the work of two coroners and meets the people they serve, people who are looking to establish their loved ones' cause of death. The job of the coroner is to help and offer guidance to bereaved families who are looking to establish their loved ones cause of death. More than 10,000 deaths are reported to the Coroners court each year with 2,000 cases making it to an inquest Terence Casey has been coroner in Kerry South East since 1992 and has spoken very passionately in the past about the number of suicide cases he encounters every year. Dr Eleanor Fitzgerald, as both a doctor and coroner for Mayo North speaks about issues around rural isolation and the cases she encounters linked to this. The stories of some of the cases they deal with are heartbreaking and touch on the subjects of road safety and suicide. The documentary explores the procedures involved in bringing more than two thousand cases to inquest each year. Families talk of their struggle to come to terms with what they learn and how they navigate the coroners court system , helped along the way by the Coroners.

Storytelling
1,056
The Brigadier
Documentary On One, RTÉ

Eric Dorman O'Gowan was an Irish general in the British Army who fought in WW1 and outfoxed the Germans during WW2, yet was sacked by a British Prime Minister. He later became an advisor for the I.R.A, turning his back on the British. Delve into the unorthodox life of one of Ireland's most remarkable mavericks, known as ‘The Brigadier’... In the 1950's in Cootehill, Co. Cavan, a county in the Republic of Ireland which borders Northern Ireland, the local children knew that the landlord in the Big House was a bit unusual: he wore khaki shorts and was nicknamed 'The Brigadier'. What they may not have known was that he had been an actual brigadier-general in the British Army in World War II. He had outfoxed Rommel in North Africa, turning the tide of the desert war, but had fallen foul of Montgomery and was fired by Churchill. The Brigadier was so embittered at his treatment by the British Army that he returned to Ireland where he assisted the IRA during the Border Campaign of the 1950's. He had already changed his name from Eric Dorman-Smith to the more Irish-sounding Eric Dorman-O’Gowan. The Brigadier was married twice, stood for election in Cavan, and one of his closest friends was the writer Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway based several characters in his books on The Brigadier. So, the Cootehill children were right, The Brigadier was unusual. 50 years after The Brigadier's death, producer Pavel Barter, whose grandfather taught Eric in military college, tells his story in this Documentary On One production entitled, appropriately, "The Brigadier".

Storytelling
1,411
Pisusuuq, The Who Walks
Documentary On One, RTÉ

Sidney Tate ‘Mick’ Mallon is an Irish teacher and linguist who has dedicated his life to working with the native Inuit (Eskimo) people in the Canadian Arctic. Mick was born in Belfast, Ireland in 1933. Raised in a working class family, he attended Campbell College (Belfast) and Cambridge University in the U.K. As a vocal and opinionated left leaning Protestant with a Catholic surname, Mick figured there wasn’t a place - or a job - for him in Belfast. And so in 1954, he left Ireland for a teaching job in Canada. One year in, he was fired for "moral turpitude". Soon after, his then girlfriend and soon to be wife, Cynthia, also joined him from Belfast. Not one to take rejection to heart, Mick’s love of adventure led him to teach in the Arctic - first in northern Quebec and eventually in what is now known as Nunavut - a massive, sparsely populated territory of northern Canada which forms most of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago - and is literally, at the top of the world. Fascinated by language, Mick began to learn Inuktitut, the native language of the Inuit (the indigenous people of the Arctic sometimes referred to as Eskimo). Arguably one of the most difficult languages for an English speaker to learn, this Irish man not only picked it apart, he developed a method for teaching it. Mick and his colleagues empowered the Inuit people to become educators and leaders in their own language. Creating a curriculum that’s contributed to the revitalization of Inuktitut, Mick is widely regarded in Canada for his work with the language and his passion for teaching. After the death of his first wife Cynthia to Alzheimer's, in 2000, Mick married family friend Alexina Kublu, an Inuk (Inuit Lady) and together they've built a unique and fulfilling life in a remote part of the world. In 2008, at the age of 75, Mick Mallon was awarded an Order of Canada medal, one of the highest Canadian honours, for "his contributions as a teacher and linguist who spent decades preserving and revitalizing the Inuktitut language." Almost six decades after he left his own native Ireland, Mick has never looked back. That is until now - as an 84-year-old living in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Northern Canada.

Storytelling
2,100
Being Slaughtneil
Documentary On One, RTÉ

At the end of 2016, a small group of people did something remarkable.  It was on the sporting field, but this is not a sporting documentary.   The people are from a tiny GAA club in east County Derry - Slaughtneil.  At the end of 2016, they had achieved the incredible: they had become Ulster champions in three codes, football, hurling and camogie.   In January 2017, Slaughtneil were aiming for three All-Ireland club championships - unheard of for one club, it seems. It was in January that documentary-maker, Ronan Kelly, decided to follow the players and supporters on their journey towards Croke Park.  He suspected that their incredible success was only partly to do with sport, and he was right.  The Slaughtneil story included, politics, a motorway, death and even the poet, Seamus Heaney. For the younger members of the club, it’s a refuge from the trials of daily life.  For the older members, though, it was a refuge from the trials of The Troubles.   As one club member put it, "Being a member means being Irish and but, when you boil it down, it’s about being Slaughtneil."

Storytelling
779
An Unholy Trinity
Documentary On One, RTÉ

A priest and his housekeeper abandon a baby girl on the doorstep of a house near the Black Church in Dublin’s north inner city in February of 1923. Three local women notice the couple acting suspiciously. The women follow and manage to apprehend the couple. They are handed over to the police, charged and sent forward for trial. One month later, a young doctor is shot dead on the streets of Mohill, county Leitrim. The two incidents are connected, but how? Although the murder case was investigated by the authorities at the time, it has remained unsolved for almost 100 years. Doctor Paddy Muldoon was shot dead in the town of Mohill on the 18th of March 1923 during the final months of the Irish Civil war. His death left a widow, Rita and four children who grew up without a father. In the days after the shooting, the name of a local priest was linked to the killing. There were rumours of a connection to the events at the Black Church in Dublin a month earlier and that an IRA gang had been recruited to carry out the murder. Newly discovered archive material from a range of sources, including the Muldoon family, makes it possible to piece together the circumstances surrounding the murder. The documentary reveals how far senior figures in the church, state and rebel forces were willing to go to cover up a scandal.

Storytelling
953
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