Whistleblower (Irish TV series)

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RTÉ Whistleblower.jpg
Louise, as portrayed by Emma Stansfield
Written byRob Heyland
Directed byDermot Boyd
ComposerRay Harman
Country of originIreland
Original languageEnglish
No. of series1
No. of episodes2
Executive producers
  • Kathryn Lennon
  • Lesley McKimm
  • Siobhan Bourke
  • Peter Norris
CinematographyCiarán Tanham
EditorRay Roantree
Running time90 minutes
Production companySaffron Pictures
Original networkRTÉ One
Picture format16:9 (576i)
Audio formatStereo
Original release31 August (2008-08-31) –
1 September 2008 (2008-09-01)

Whistleblower is a two-part Irish television IFTA-winning fact-based drama, broadcast on RTÉ One for two consecutive nights in 2008, which focuses on the Michael Neary scandal that first erupted in the 1990s.[1] Neary, a retired Irish consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, gained notoriety when it was discovered that he had performed what was considered an inordinate number of caesarian hysterectomies during his time at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, County Louth.

Whistleblower follows the obstacles encountered by a midwife Louise (Emma Stansfield) as she blows the whistle on Neary (Stanley Townsend)'s irregular obstetric practices. The series was written by Rob Heyland,[2] directed by Dermot Boyd,[3] produced by Siobhán Bourke[4] and Peter Norris and researched by Sheila Ahern. The first episode, broadcast at 21:30 on 31 August 2008, drew in a third of the available audience across all platforms.[5]


The series was based upon the activities of Dr. Michael Neary, a former consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, who was considered to have performed an inordinate number of caesarian hysterectomies during his time at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, County Louth. A subsequent inquiry found that Neary had carried out 188 peripartum over a period of 25 years, some on very young women of low parity. The average consultant obstetrician carries out five or six of these operations in their entire career.[5]


The series' broadcast prompted the support group Patient Focus to renew its call on the Irish government for every woman affected by Neary's actions to be included in the Lourdes hospital redress scheme.[6]

RTÉ were also criticised for airing the series too soon after the conclusion of Neary inquiry, and for making the in-depth script too "upsetting for" all those involved. The commissioning editor of drama with the national broadcaster, Jane Gogan, attempted to justify the broadcast, commenting that; "RTÉ hopes to convey to a wider audience the human cost of the injustices which were exposed, and to illustrate the power of the individual in affecting change".[7]



No.TitleDirected byWritten byAirdate
1"Episode 1"Dermot BoydRob Heyland31 August 2008 (2008-08-31)
Midwife Louise discovers a high number of hysterectomies being carried out at the hospital where she works by renowned surgeon Dr. Michael Neary, and subsequently decides upon reporting her suspicions.
2"Episode 2"Dermot BoydRob Heyland1 September 2008 (2008-09-01)
The aftermath of the revelations continues as Louise receives threatening notes and phone calls. As more cases come to light, one victim of malpractice takes her case against Dr. Neary to the High Court.


Year Nominee / work Award Result
2009 Whistleblower Best Single or Serial Drama Won


  1. ^ "'Whistleblower' Drama on RTÉ One". Irish Film and Television Network. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
  2. ^ "Whistleblower - Writer: Rob Heyland". RTÉ. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
  3. ^ "Whistleblower - Director: Dermot Boyd". RTÉ. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
  4. ^ "Whistleblower - Producer: Siobhan Bourke". RTÉ. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
  5. ^ a b Hogan, Louise (2 September 2008). "RTÉ 'Whistleblower' drama about the Neary scandal proves a huge hit". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2 September 2008.
  6. ^ "Group seeks redress for all Neary victims". RTÉ. 30 August 2008. Archived from the original on 4 September 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
  7. ^ "RTÉ defends 'Whistleblower' drama based on Dr. Neary scandal". Evening Herald. 23 August 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008.

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