Whistleblower (TV series)

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RTÉ Whistleblower.jpg
Series logo with midwife Louise (left; portrayed by Emma Stansfield)
Created by Saffron Pictures
Country of origin Republic of Ireland
No. of episodes 2
Original network RTÉ One
Original release 31 August – 1 September 2008
External links

Whistleblower is a two-part IFTA-winning fact-based RTÉ drama which focuses on the Michael Neary scandal that erupted in the 1990s.[1] Neary is a retired Irish consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist who gained notoriety when it was discovered that he had performed what was considered an inordinate number of caesarian hysterectomies during his time at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, County Louth. A subsequent inquiry found that Neary had carried out 188 peripartum over a period of 25 years, some on very young women of low parity. The average consultant obstetrician carries out 5 or 6 of these operations in their entire career. The airing of the show prompted the support group Patient Focus to renew its call on the Irish Government for every woman affected by Neary's actions to be included in the Lourdes hospital redress scheme.[2]

Whistleblower highlights the obstacles encountered by a midwife as she blows the whistle on Michael Neary's irregular obstetric practices. It was broadcast on RTÉ One on Sunday 31 August and Monday 1 September 2008 at 21.30. The two-part drama was written by Rob Heyland[3] and directed by Dermot Boyd.[4] It was produced by Siobhán Bourke[5] and Peter Norris and researched by Sheila Ahern.

Part one focuses on the discovery of the high number of hysterectomies carried out at the hospital and the subsequent reporting of the midwife's suspicions. Part two focuses on the aftermath of the revelations as threatening notes and phone calls are received whilst, with more cases coming to light, one victim of malpractice takes her case against Dr Neary to the High Court.

RTÉ was criticised for airing the controversial drama too soon after the inquiry and for making it too upsetting for all those involved. The commissioning editor of drama with the national broadcaster, Jane Gogan attempted to justify its airing by saying that "RTE hopes to convey to a wider audience the human cost of the injustices which were exposed and to illustrate the power of the individual in affecting change".[6]

A third of the available audience watched the first episode.[7]



Year Nominee/work Award Result
2009 Whistleblower Best Drama Single/Serial Won


  1. ^ "'Whistleblower' Drama On RTÉ One". Irish Film and Television Network. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008. 
  2. ^ "Group seeks redress for all Neary victims". RTÉ. 30 August 2008. Archived from the original on 4 September 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008. 
  3. ^ Writer Rob Heyland
  4. ^ Director Dermot Boyd
  5. ^ Producer Siobhán Bourke
  6. ^ "RTE defends drama on Dr Neary scandal". Evening Herald. 23 August 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008. 
  7. ^ Hogan, Louise (2 September 2008). "RTE drama about scandal whistleblower proves a huge hit". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2 September 2008. 

External links[edit]