RADIO DOCUMENTARY THREE – Breaking the Cycle of Violence (Released June 2019)
This Documentary explores how Concern Worldwide is helping Syrian refugees to prevent domestic violence and to reengage with their families and communities.
The Syrian refugee crisis no longer makes headlines. But it is still the largest humanitarian crises since World War II. Lebanon, equivalent in size to counties Limerick and Cork (12 times smaller than New York) but with a population equal to the whole island of Ireland, has taken in 1.5 million refugees. Per capita, the highest in the world.
This documentary takes an alternative approach to the story of domestic violence telling it through the words and experience of four Syrian men. Their stories begin when they were in Syria where civilian families go peacefully about their daily lives in their community and workplaces and then suddenly find themselves in the crossfire.
The impact of the violence they faced on a daily basis, the grief they carry with them is etched on their souls for generations. The men in particular feel shame for not being able to protect their families and communities, for not being able to fulfil the typical role of the man in society.
Positive stories emanating from the Syrian crisis are in short supply as are those showing the human effect of violent conflict. Breaking the Cycle of Violence tells a constructive story of people, affected by the Syrian crisis, attempting to rebuild their lives. These Syrian men are volunteering to solve their problems with the support of their family and others around them.
They do so by taking part in a training programme with Concern staff; Bassam, Rami and Lama that helps them re-engage with their families and rebuild their lives in a non-violent way. They are assisted by Concern Worldwide with funding from Irish Aid and the local Lebanese community on the Engaging Men Programme. This training programme helps men reflect on their behaviour, reengage with their families and contribute constructively to their communities.
Throughout his documentary Kearney spends time with the men, their families and Concern staff. Breaking the Cycle of Violence therefore shows a human story behind a sensitive and emotive story. It’s ultimately a positive story that shows behaviour can be changed and the cycle of violence can be broken.
BROADCAST DETAILS: Breaking the Cycle of Violence will be broadcast on Newstalk on Sunday June 16th: 7am, with a repeat broadcast on Saturday June 22nd: 9pm
Following broadcast, the podcast will be available at: https://www.newstalk.com/documentary-and-drama-on-newstalk/documentary-newstalk-breaking-cycle-violence-872534
CREDITS: Breaking the Cycle of Violence was produced and presented by Peadar Kearney. This programme was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland with the Television Licence Fee.
NB: The programme contains strong language and scenes which some listeners might find disturbing. Listener discretion advised. If you’ve been affected by any issues raised by this programme, freephone the samaritans on: 116123
VIDEO DOCUMENTARY TWO – was Justice Done in Craigavon? (Published September 2016)
Evidence used against John Paul Wootton and Brendan Mc Conville for the killing of Constable Stephen Carroll in Craigavon, Co Armagh in March 2009. They are know as The Craigavon Two.
See Video Documentary One below for further information.
VIDEO DOCUMENTARY ONE – Living with Injustice: The Imprisonment of Brendan Mc Conville (Published Friday 20 May 2016)
This 3:49 minute video documentary aims to tell the story of the conviction of Brendan Mc Conville through the words of his parents Willie and Eileen. Mc Conville was convicted on 30 March 2012, for the murder of PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll on 9 March 2009. He was arrested and held in prison since 10 March 2009. A group calling itself “The Continuity IRA” claimed responsibility.
Mc Conville was convicted along with John Paul Wootton by a non-jury trial and they remain in prison to this day, despite their claims and the claims of campaigners (Justice for the Craigavon Two – JFTC2) that it was a miscarriage of justice. Campaigners know Mc Conville and Wootton as “The Craigavon Two”.
When exploring this topic further I contacted the JFTC2 team and they told me that they believe Wootton and Mc Conville are innocent and they should be released as;
- The prosecutions’ key witness, known as Witness M, claimed to have seen Mc Conville at the scene even though he has a visual impairment.
- Witness M did come forward with this information for 11 months.
- Witness M’s described Mc Conville as wearing a coat of a different style and colour from that presented by the prosecution,
- This coat, recovered within hours of the shooting, was dry yet the conditions that night were wet.
- The forensic examination of this coat and the fire-arm recovered after the shooting did not match.
- Although multiple sources of DNA were found on the coat only Mc Conville ‘s were followed up on.
- The tracking device, allegedly planted on Wootton’s car by MI5, that placed Mc Conville and Wootton at the scene of the shooting, went missing. When it was returned it was returned in an altered state with data missing.
- Although the assault rifle and several rounds of ammunition used in the shooting were recovered no forensic link was made to either of the two.
At the time of their conviction, the prosecution claimed that the forensic tests carried out on the brown jacket in the car identified gun residue and DNA linking it to Mc Conville. As reported in The Irish News on 11 July 2009, they said the tests showed that Mc Conville was “more likely than not” to have been the wearer of the coat. Mc Conville denied owing or wearing the coat.
This same article in The Irish News goes on to say that a forensic scientist, who carried out tests on the brown jacket, said that while she found traces of substances that “could have originated from a firearms source” that the absence of “barium or mercury means that there may be another source”. She therefore concluded that the forensic results could only be regarded as “indicative” of the coat containing gun residue. It is also alleged that MI5 removed and tampered with a car-tracking device that they had placed on Wootton’s car.
In the early court hearings the resident magistrate admitted that he was not satisfied that the case against Mc Conville was the strongest but that it was enough to refuse Mc Conville bail. In an article published in The Newsletter on 4 March 2015, the widow of Constable Carroll, Kate Carroll, said that while she believes that Mc Conville and Wootton were not “totally innocent” that she believes that “the killers are still not apprehended”.
Mc Conville initially received a 25-year sentence while the younger Wootton received a 14-year sentence, at their trial in 2012. However, Wootton’s sentence was increased by four years, on appeal by the PPS, in October 2014.
Having read the case information, and court transcripts, even to an untrained legal eye, the case against Mc Conville and Wootton appears weak and to be built on questionable evidence. Furthermore as credible personnel have attached to this case and spoken out about it, it warrants investigation.
While a 15-minute documentary is currently being produced and due for release in mid August 2016, this short documentary tells the story from the point of view of Brendan’s parents, Willie and Eileen.
RADIO DOCUMENTARY TWO – Irish Republicans Opposed to the Good Friday Agreement (Released February 2015)
This 15 minute radio documentary speaks to Irish Republicans who oppose the Good Friday Agreement and asks them why they oppose it and of the alternatives they propose. It can be listened to here
RADIO DOCUMENTARY ONE – Understanding Irish Muslims (Released April 2014)
This four part radio documentary looks at the lives of Muslims living in Ireland. The 4 episodes can be heard at podomatic.com/peterk and the first one is located here.