Major international award for RTÉ documentary Blackrock Boys which exposed sexual abuse in religious-run schools

Programme about sexual abuse in Blackrock College of two brothers wins award for investigative work at world’s largest competition for public-service media

Blackrock Boys, an RTÉ radio documentary which helped expose the sexual abuse of children on the Blackrock College campus in Dublin, has won Best European Audio Investigation of the Year at the world’s largest competition for public-service media.

The award was accepted in Berlin, at the Prix Europa – Media Competition, by Liam O’Brien, who produced and narrated the programme. He dedicated the award to the memory of the recently deceased Mark Ryan who, with his brother David, told of their experiences in the documentary.

Blackrock Boys, part of RTÉ’s Documentary on One series, was broadcast last November and prompted hundreds of abuse survivors to report their abuse as boys in schools run by religious congregations.

Speaking at Mark Ryan’s memorial service in Dublin last Friday, RTÉ executive producer Seán Mac Giolla Phádraig said much had been said “about Mark’s courage since his tragic passing”.


As programme makers, he said, “we get to see up close the courage it takes. Deciding to speak out on the national airwaves on any issue is a brave step, but when it’s something you’ve spoken to very few people about, something you’ve been forced to carry throughout your entire life, it’s even braver”.

Addressing David Ryan directly, Mr Mac Giolla Phádraig said: “Liam, the Documentary on One team and our colleagues at RTÉ will be there if you need us as you continue the experience you started with Mark.”

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times