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'I thought I'd go to prison': This new TG4 series looks at Ireland's whistleblowers - and how they risked it all

Misneach starts tonight at 9:30pm on TG4.

Journal Media Studio / YouTube

TWENTY ONE YEARS ago, while completing a PhD as a serving member of the Defence Forces, Tom Clonan uncovered a deep-rooted culture of discrimination and sexual harassment against his female colleagues. 

In the first episode of Misneach, a new TG4 series which examines the treatment of whistleblowers, Tom recalls the findings of his research – and how speaking out changed his life forever.

Starting tonight, Wednesday October 13, at 9:30pm, each episode of Misneach looks at the story of an Irish person who took a stand against wrongdoing in the workplace before the 2014 Protected Disclosures Act was introduced. 

During Tom’s study, which looked at the statuses of and the roles assigned to female personnel in the Permanent Defence Forces, he discovered a stark gender division of labour within the organisation. 

51496660571_90c2d5d1ec_c Misneach - Tom Clonan airs on Wednesday October 13 at 9:30pm on TG4. TG4 TG4

From 1998 to 2000, Tom, who was a captain and press officer in the Defence Forces, interviewed 60 female soldiers. A shocking 59 of these women reported a catalogue of discrimination, harassment, bullying, sexual harassment and assault. 

Tom reported his findings to his superiors, and was confident they would end the systematic violence perpetrated against his female colleagues. When they didn’t, he made the decision to share his findings outside the organisation. 

This decision to whistleblow led to him being faced with a case for criminal prosecution. “I thought I’d go to prison,” he says. Hear the full story at 9:30pm tonight on TG4 and watch the trailer here.

51496887388_869ba8d18c_c Misneach - Louise Bayliss airs on Wednesday October 20 at 9:30pm on TG4.

Putting everything on the line

Episode two follows the case of Louise Bayliss, who was working as an advocate for patients at various psychiatric hospitals around Dublin in 2011. 

On a visit to St Brendan’s Hospital in Grangegorman just before Christmas that year, Louise learned that the female patients in an open ward, many of whom had minor mental health issues, would be moved to the ‘locked unit’ for the Christmas period due to staffing issues. Louise visited the locked unit to see how the moved patients would be accommodated, and was appalled by the conditions. 

After trying to change the decision to move the patients to no avail, Louise made the decision to risk her career by speaking about her findings on Joe Duffy’s Liveline.

In the weeks that followed Louise’s story made headlines, and what followed would change the trajectory of her career and life forever. Interested to hear more? Tune in on Wednesday 20th October at 9:30pm on TG4 for the full story.

Misneach starts this Wednesday October 13 at 9:30pm on TG4. Missed it? Catch up on the TG4 Player. 

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