Northern Ireland

Films on struggle for justice after priest abuse

Film image
Image caption An image taken from the film 'Brendan Smyth-Betrayal of Trust'

Two one-hour films focusing on a family's struggle for justice after abuse at the hands of convicted paedophile priest, Father Brendan Smyth will be aired on BBC One Northern Ireland.

The films, based on the book by investigative journalist Chris Moore, will centre on the experiences of one individual and her family from west Belfast.

Father Smyth was at the centre of one of the first paedophile priest scandals to rock the Catholic Church.

The Northern Ireland-born cleric was eventually convicted of dozens of offences against children over a 40-year period.

Mr Moore has been following the family's case since 1994 and previously exposed the failure of the Catholic hierarchy to deal with Fr Smyth despite having knowledge of his activities for many years.

The scandal which followed indirectly led to the fall of the Fianna Fail Labour coalition government in the Republic of Ireland and exposed the true scale of the paedophile priest scandal.

Michael McDowell, Tim McGarry and Damon Quinn of the Hole in the Wall Gang have scripted the drama which reveals how it took years for this family to successfully campaign for justice.

Damon Quinn said: "At its heart, Brendan Smyth - Betrayal of Trust is a human story about the effects of child abuse and how one family finally stood up and demanded action.

"We believe we have created a responsible drama that has put the families and survivors involved at the heart of the creative process.

"The end script is the result of an 18-month process. Some fictional scenes and characters have been included but for the most part it is based on actual events."

Brendan Smyth - Betrayal of Trust is on BBC One Northern Ireland on Sunday, March 13 at 2100 GMT, and concludes on Monday, March 14 at 2100 GMT.

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