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History festival to screen amended documentary

July 27th, 2017 3:17 PM

By Jackie Keogh

An Tost Fada.jpg

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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.'



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