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Wednesday, 29 May, 2002, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
Spotlight programmes
Spotlight graphic
Spotlight is BBC Northern Ireland's flagship investigative current affairs programme.

The Spotlight series remains synonymous with trusted, original and hard-edged journalism.

These programmes are no longer available as streamed video.

The recurring crisis over Drumcree leads to a rift in the Church of Ireland
28 May 2002

Cross and Sash

This programme looks at the recurring crisis at Drumcree in County Armagh which has created a rift within the Church of Ireland about its relationship with the Orange Order.

As reporter Vincent Kearney explains, the Order is not the only organisation to have been traumatised by the dispute - the Church has also been damaged. And there is a fierce debate amongst its members about what it should do.

Some want the doors of Drumcree church to be closed on the Orange Order. Others say that would be unchristian, and a grave mistake.

Many are concerned that the Church has become identified with a protest which has frequently been hijacked by loyalist paramilitaries and erupted into violence.

A look at police Special Branch in NI after the Castlereagh break-in
21 May 2002

Root and Branch

The implications of the break-in at the police Special Branch office in Belfast in March are examined in this programme.

Whoever managed to breach security at the Castlereagh police base on St Patrick's Day, they threw Special Branch into crisis as they made off with top secret documents.

Reporter Kevin Magee says the episode raises serious questions about the competence of the Special Branch.

The debate on the reform and future of the branch will be given new impetus in the coming weeks when the Stevens team reports on the murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane.

The Birmingham Six speak about life 11 years after their release
14 May 2002

Life Sentence

The men known as the Birmingham Six speak to Spotlight reporter Seamus Boyd about their lives since being released from prison 11 years ago, after spending 16 years behind bars for a crime they did not commit.

They had been wrongly convicted of killing 21 people in the Birmingham pub bombings.

One of the six, Hugh Callaghan, is now 72 years old and still has nightmares about prison beatings.

"I would love an apology", he says. "Wouldn't it be great, after all we went through, to hear that the Home Office had apologised to the Birmingham Six?".

The mens' fight for full compensation also continues. Paddy Hill says it will be scant reward for what has been lost.

Examination of Sinn Fein's election strategy in the Irish Republic
7 May 2002

Green Machine

Reporter Vincent Kearney examines the strategy of Sinn Fein in its battle for seats in the Republic of Ireland's general election on May 17.

It hopes to gain the balance of power in the Irish parliament, the Dail, giving it unprecedented influence over government policy. In the last Dail, there was just one Sinn Fein member.

The republican party is fielding candidates in 34 of the republic's 42 constituencies.

Unionists fear a big Sinn Fein success in the election and are unhappy at the possibility of the party having ministers in the governments on both sides of the border.

Issues on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict being felt in Northern Ireland
30 May 2002

Promised Land

Spotlight talks to members of the Arab and Jewish communities in Northern Ireland about the bloody Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Reporter Barbara McCann concludes that some members of these two communities in the province appear to have taken sides in the Middle East conflict.

In 1948, three years after the Holocaust, the State of Israel was proclaimed in Palestine, finally giving Jews a homeland. But, for many of the Palestinians living there, it meant a future in exile or feeling like foreigners in their own land.

Both sides want their own recognised and separate states and this apparently insoluble international problem has resulted in years of conflict and war.

16 April 2002

Dying Breath

Asbestos dust - a silent killer - was all too common a feature of industrial life in Belfast during the fifties and sixties.

To workers it was simply a tool of their trade but with every breath they took, they risked their lives as the cancer-causing fibres lodged in their lungs.

Now, 40 years later, the illnesses caused by the deadly dust is killing them.

This edition of Spotlight asks why workers were exposed to asbestos long after it was known to be dangerous, and why, as people fight for their lives, they also have to fight for compensation.

A shart drop in the number of Irish vocations to the priesthood
26 March 2002

Sign of the Times

A sharp drop in the number of Northern Ireland men being ordained into the priesthood is the subject for this edition of Spotlight.

After eight years of study, Chris Ferguson's ordination is planned for July in his home diocese of Derry, but he will be the only man to take such a step this year.

He admits he was shocked when he realised he would be the only new priest north of the Irish border out of a Catholic population of 700,000.

The dramatic fall in vocations to the priesthood is evident at Saint Patrick's seminary at Maynooth, west of Dublin. In the mid-1980s there were more than 300 studying there. Today there are about 70.

Investigation into moves to open lap-dancing clubs in Northern Ireland
20 March 2002

Rhythm and Blue

The lap-dancing phenomenon, which has its roots in the United States, is currently sweeping across Britain and Ireland. Three years ago in the Irish Republic they did not exist - today there are at least ten with others in the pipeline.

The people who run these profitable clubs in the Republic are making efforts to bring the business to Northern Ireland, promoting their own brand of semi-naked dancing.

In this edition of Spotlight, Barbara McCann reports that the move is facing some tough resistance in the North and examines attitudes to this new kind of voyeurism.

The programme brings together a cleric who is strongly opposed to the trade and a businessman who is already running a lap-dancing club in Belfast.

The story of the Tullaghmurry Lass which disappeared with three generations of the Greene family.
12 March 2002

Lost at Sea

On 14 February, three generations of the Greene family left Kilkeel harbour in County Down on a routine prawn fishing trip. The weather and sea conditions were good, yet this was a trip from which they would never return.

A month later their relatives still wait for definitive news of the fate of the three Michael Greenes - grandfather, son and eight-year-old grandson.

In this Spotlight, presented by reporter Seamus Boyd, their family talk about their loss and how they are coping with the grief.

The tragedy is being investigated by the Marine Accident Investigation Bureau. It says many causes have been looked at, including the possibility that a large ship was involved.

Possible joint sovereignty for Gibraltar which wants to remain British
5 March 2002

Monkey Business

Spotlight travels to Gibraltar where the majority say they will do all they can to defend their British culture. The British and Spanish Governments want to resolve the dispute there which spans three centuries.

Talk of territorial claims, joint declarations and sell-out is in the air but the government says the 30,000 people of Gibraltar should view the Good Friday Agreement as an example of what can be achieved.

Spotlight reporter Vincent Kearney takes two Northern Ireland political rivals to Gibraltar to examine the parallels with home.

Anti-Agreement unionist Robert McCartney opposes the Anglo-Spanish dialogue while Alban Maginness of the SDLP believes the talks are essential.

An Audit Office report is critical of spending by the NI Tourist Board in New York
26 February 2002

Spoiling the View

Reporter Kevin Magee looks in detail at a highly critical Audit Office report into spending by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, particularly by its representatives in New York.

The changed political climate in Northern Ireland has given the tourism industry new hope.

But the Audit Office report showed that the Tourist Board broke its own guidelines with excessive spending on hospitality overseas.

In New York, unauthorised use of a corporate credit card left the board with a bill of more than 24,000, much of it paid out to exclusive restaurants and hotels

Spotlight also examines the report's references to contracts awarded by the board to a printing company associated with a former chairman.

Report on prospects of a united Ireland as population balance changes
12 February 2002

Counting on the Union

This edition of Spotlight examines the changing demographics of Northern Ireland and if a united Ireland could ever happen.

The solid unionist majority which existed in Northern Ireland at the time of partition has begun to crumble away in recent years.

The Catholic population reached 42% in 1991, and when the latest census figures are published they are expected to show that figure is even higher.

The programme looks at the implications of this population change for the political future of Northern Ireland and a studio panel discusses the issue.

A report on the internal workings of the UDA

29 January 2002

The Chill Factor

Kevin Magee's report looks at what is going on inside the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association as concern is expressed in the wider unionist community that Northern Ireland must not become "a cold place for Protestants".

In spite of years of political negotiations and talk of ceasefires, the UDA continues its stock in trade of extortion, beatings and sectarian murder.

The UDA has created a climate of fear where, if the writing on the wall is to be believed, every Catholic is regarded as a target.

The programme reports that the organisation's six area commanders follow no co-ordinated strategy and it is the hawks who are presently in the ascendancy.

A report on how the chief constable will respond to the Omagh bomb inquiry controversy
23 January 2002

The Omagh Report

On the eve of a meeting between the chief constable and families of the Omagh bomb victims, Spotlight reveals details of Sir Ronnie Flanagan's response to the scathing report on the police inquiry into the bombing.

That report, written by the NI Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, contained some highly critical comments about Sir Ronnie and the way some special branch officers handled intelligence information prior to the bombing.

Reporting for Spotlight, BBC NI's chief security correspondent Brian Rowan details some of Sir Ronnie Flanagan's responses to the ombudsman's report.

A look at the psychological make-up of killer Stephen Scott
30 October 2001

Murder in Mind

An examination of what turns an ordinary man into a cold-blooded murderer is the subject for this edition of Spotlight.

The killer in question is Stephen Scott, the man convicted and jailed for the horrific murder of Omagh teenager Sylvia Fleming in April 1998.

Reporter Barbara McCann talks to an eminent criminologist who describes Scott as a highly dominant personality and a "right" man - the sort of person who will never admit that they are wrong.

One of Scott's accomplices in the disposal of Sylvia's body also talks on television for the first time about the degree of control Scott exerted over him.

What were three Irish republicans doing in Colombia?
16 October 2001

Three men in Colombia

This Spotlight report is from Colombia where three Irish republicans are being held by the authorities and may face trial.

The most serious charge against them is that they are suspected members of the Provisional IRA, caught coaching left wing rebels in bomb making techniques.

All three deny the charge but the Colombian government is convinced the men have a case to answer.

Reporter Kevin Magee travelled to Bogota, known as the kidnap and assassination capital of South America, to investigate the truth about the activities of the three Irishmen.

Reports on the murder of journalist Martin O'Hagan and the loyalist ceasefires
2 October 2001

The loyalist paramilitary ceasefires and the murder of a journalist come under scrutiny in this Spotlight programme.

It examines the record of the LVF and the UDA - both of which claim to be observing ceasefires - but which have been accused of carrying out many recent acts of violence.

Reporter Vincent Kearney details the make-up of the UDA's so-called Inner Council, naming the six men who allegedly have the power to turn the violence on and off.

Barbara McCann also reports on the loyalist murder of newspaper journalist Martin O'Hagan - the first journalist to be murdered in the 31 years of the Troubles.

The story of an Enniskillen man and other Irish Americans who survived the New York attack
25 September 2001

11 September 2001

The devastating terror attack on the World Trade Center on 11 September forms the background to this first programme in the new series of Spotlight.

Reporter Kevin Magee went to New York to hear from Irish Americans caught up in the atrocity; people who were working in the twin towers and managed to escape with their lives and others who, as members of the emergency services, came to their rescue.

One of the people who told of their experiences was Myles Donnelly from Enniskillen.

On the morning of the suicide attacks he was at his desk on the 78th floor of the South Tower, the second one to be hit by a hijacked airliner. His experience of the violence in Northern Ireland taught him to get out quickly. Several of his closest colleagues who did not do likewise did not survive.

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