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category national | history and heritage | news report author Saturday July 29, 2017 10:02author by Tom Cooper Report this post to the editors

Documentary re-edited for West Cork History Festival

A NEW FLAW has been discovered in the Eoghan Harris / Gerry Gregg TV documentary An Tost Fada (The Long Silence)

A 1939 gravestone (& inscription) of a woman was presented as that of man killed in 1921 (who An Tost Fada said was killed in April 1922). See link to original story below.

Original Story of successful complaint:
RTE upholds complaint against Eoghan Harris programme on War of independence
http://indymedia.ie/article/102026
How Eoghan Harris and Gerry Gregg got it wrong - shot by shot - click for bigger image
How Eoghan Harris and Gerry Gregg got it wrong - shot by shot - click for bigger image

Re-edited documetnary to be shown at West Cork History Festival. See
http://www.southernstar.ie/news/roundup/articles/2017/0...tary/

History festival to screen amended documentary
Thursday, 27th July, 2017 3:17pm

by Jackie Keogh

A CORRECTED version of a documentary about the killing of Protestants in West Cork in the 1920s will be screened at noon on Saturday, July 29th as part of the inaugural West Cork History Festival.

The documentary – An Tost Fada, The Long Silence – is an RTÉ production that was first shown in 2012, but was not broadcast in the intervening years because it contained a number of errors.

RTÉ confirmed that an edited version of the documentary in which the inaccuracies have been removed has been licensed to the festival at a rate of €600.

Gerry Gregg, the producer, confirmed that two errors have been rectified. The first – an incorrect date of April 1922 was given for the IRA shooting of Matthew Connell and William Sweetman – has been amended to February 1921.

The second – a claim that Canon George Salter’s father, William, had received £1,700 compensation from the British government – has been removed from the edited version.

Eoghan Harris, who wrote and narrated the documentary, will attend the screening at noon at Rosebank House, just outside of Skibbereen on the Tragumna Road, and will discuss the documentary with the audience afterwards.

Organisers of the West Cork History Festival say they are pleased to include the amended film as part of a full programme of events over the weekend Friday, July 28th to Sunday, July 30th.

The documentary is a personal account by Canon George Salter, then an 87-year old retired Church of Ireland minister, of his family’s flight from their farm near Dunmanway after 13 Protestants were killed in April 1922.

Tom Cooper, chairman of the Irish National Congress, which advocates Irish reunification, had originally complained to RTÉ in 2012 that the film contained inaccuracies.

And, in a letter to The Southern Star this week, he welcomed the fact that An Tost Fada has been amended to correct ‘two of its more glaring errors.’

Mr Cooper said he believes ‘the general public deserves better from our national broadcaster, and so, too, do those attending the West Cork History Festival.

‘My advice to those watching in silence the Gregg-Harris RTÉ documentary – take it with a large pinch of salt.’

Related Link: http://indymedia.ie/article/102026

News coverage of flaws in An Tost Fada documentary and re-edit for West Cork History Festival - click for bigger image
News coverage of flaws in An Tost Fada documentary and re-edit for West Cork History Festival - click for bigger image

author by Tom Cooperpublication date Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/ira-spies-an...77098

IRA, spies and west Cork killing

Irish Times 7 August 2017

Sir, – Barry Roche noted that, following my complaint, the 2012 Gerry Gregg and Eoghan Harris RTÉ documentary An Tost Fada (The Long Silence) was “corrected for some errors since its first screening” (Home News, July 31st). The programme was re-edited for the recent West Cork History Festival, after I alerted RTÉ of the intention to screen it.

RTÉ admitted to two errors. In one, the programme got the date wrong in relation to the killing of two Protestant farmers by a factor of 14 months.

The significance of the date of the killings is crucial. Gregg and Harris claim the killings took place in April 1922, when the War of Independence was over, implying that the killings were sectarian, when in fact they had taken place in February 1921, at the height of the war.

Images were screened from the graveyard in which the two men, Mathew Sweetnam and William Connell, were laid to rest.

It puzzled me as to how the mistake occurred, particularly as the camera lingered over the gravestone surname of one of the victims, Mathew Sweetnam. The puzzle was resolved last week when I examined some West Cork Graveyard Database, Aughadown burial ground, photographs.

The An Tost Fada camera shots were not of Mathew Sweetnam’s grave. They were of a Winnie Sweetnam’s gravestone. She was laid to rest in April 1939.

Barry Roche reported Eoghan Harris stating that Irish Protestants “must feel free to talk about their past’. So they must. And we all must listen.

A good start would be if alleged professional communicators who purport to assist them left their personal agendas at the door. They should check evidence thoroughly. It is time-consuming but rewarding.

I suggested to RTÉ that they should reintroduce historical advisers for such programmes. The value of considered judgments is evident in Barry Roche’s report of Andy Bielenberg’s festival talk.

Bielenberg’s research, as distinct from Mr Harris’s imagination, suggested an absence of republican sectarianism during the course of the War of Independence. – Yours, etc,

TOM COOPER

 
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