Hostage (TV series)
|Created by||RTÉ Archive Unit|
|Country of origin||Ireland|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Original channel||RTÉ One|
|Original airing||June 2008|
Hostage is a six-part Irish history documentary television series broadcast on RTÉ One in June 2008 each Friday at 20:30. The series spans a period from the 1970s to the 1990s and features footage from the RTÉ Archive Production Unit of bank raids and political kidnaps in remote locations such as Beirut and Clonmel. Amongst the more widely publicised cases featured on the show is the story of Mary Coen, a Galway nurse who was kidnapped by a liberation movement in Western Ethiopia in 1988. She was one of two Irish nurses who were working with the Irish charity Concern Worldwide (Concern). They had travelled to remote Western Ethiopia the year before Mary Coen's kidnap to work on a Concern project in the African country. The series is produced by the RTÉ Archive Unit.
37 Hours in Beirut
Programme one was titled "37 Hours in Beirut" and detailed the 1985 kidnapping of the Deputy Head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Lebanon, the Irishman, Aidan Walsh, who was held hostage for thirty-seven hours. Walsh believes that he was released by mistake due to a misunderstanding. There are contributions from Walsh’s friend, the well-known journalist and author Robert Fisk, who was one of the first people to see the man upon his release. One year later, Brian Keenan was kidnapped in Beirut and held hostage for four years.
The Lord, The Lady & The I.R.A.
Programme two was titled "The Lord, The Lady & The I.R.A." and detailed the summer of 1974 maverick I.R.A. unit kidnapping of Lord and Lady Donoughmore from their home near Clonmel, County Tipperary. The kidnappings took place whilst I.R.A. hunger strikes had been ongoing for two hundred days in British jails, as the prisoners sought repatriation and political status. One hunger striker had died by the time this kidnapping took place. A major police and army search was launched and the people of Clonmel protested in high numbers at the mistreatment of the popular local couple. Lord and Lady Donoughmore were released following four days as hostages and, due to them no longer being alive at the time of the filming, their son, Mark Hely Hutchinson, tells their story for the purposes of the documentary. Also included are excerpts from Lord Donoughmore’s own account, testaments by eyewitness Joe Phelan, who became an unwilling victim of the kidnapping, and contributions from the journalist and author Paul Howard, who has written about the kidnapping.
Long Walk to Freedom
Programme three was titled "Long Walk to Freedom" and detailed the 1988 Ethiopian kidnapping of two young Irish nurses working with the Irish charity Concern Worldwide (Concern). They were kidnapped by the liberation movement Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), held hostage for one month and forced to walk six hundred miles to regain their freedom in Sudan.
High Noon, Athy
Programme four was titled "High Noon, Athy" and detailed the January 1990 attempt by an armed gang to rob a bank in Emily Square in Athy, County Kildare. Gardaí had armed personnel from the Emergency Response Unit in place and, as staff and customers were being held hostage inside the bank, outside it was surrounded. A shootout ensued and one gang member was killed, whilst several serious injuries were inflicted. It was later revealed that none of the gang members had fired their weapons. Two of the hostages, bank porter Noel Reddy, and customer Mary Prior give their version of events, whilst the crime journalist and author Paul Williams also contributes.
No Way Out - Iraq
Programme five was titled "No Way Out - Iraq" and detailed the plight of the doctor Mary McLoughlin and the electrical contractor Tom Lynch, both from County Cork, who were placed by Saddam Hussein as "human shields" at sites of strategic importance in the Gulf War in August 1990. As well as this, Lynch spent one month in several Iraqi prisons after a failed escape attempt across the border.
Programme six was titled "Joking Aside" and detailed the February 1994 kidnapping of Noel V. Ginnity who was held hostage for a cash ransom by armed robbers. The incident led to a career boost for the comedian.
- "About the Show". RTÉ. Accessed 23 January 2009.
- "RTE hostage series features story of Galway nurse kidnap". Galway Advertiser. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- "RTÉ Reveals Summer Schedule". IFTN. 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2009-01-23.
- "37 Hours in Beirut". RTÉ. Accessed 23 January 2009.
- "The Lord, The Lady & The I.R.A.". RTÉ. Accessed 23 January 2009.
- "Long Walk to Freedom". RTÉ. Accessed 23 January 2009.
- "High Noon, Athy". RTÉ. Accessed 23 January 2009.
- "No Way Out - Iraq". RTÉ. Accessed 23 January 2009.
- "Joking Aside". RTÉ. Accessed 23 January 2009.