French TV film MFV / Submarine documentary in Mann and Ireland

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Rapport de Celtic League
Porte-parole: Cathal Ó Luain

Publié le 18/07/08 11:51 -- mis à jour le 00/00/00 00:00

A team from France 3 television has visited the Isle of Man as part of an information gathering and filming schedule for a documentary to be broadcast in the Autumn.

The film crew interviewed the Director of Information (DoI) of the Celtic League about the Leagues twenty year campaign to highlight the dangers caused to fishermen by military exercises involving submarines in coastal waters around the British Isles and off Brittany.

The Celtic League carried out an extensive military monitoring programme from the late 1970s and also compiled a substantial dossier of incidents including details of a number of suspicious sinkings in which fishermen's lives were lost. The League ended its campaign in the early 1990s, by which time both the International Maritime Organisation and various National Governments had accepted there was a problem and acted on it.

The France 3 crew filmed the Celtic League archive files which are held by Manx National Heritage in the Manx Museum Library and also conducted interviews with the DoI at the Museum. They also filmed interviews at various places on the west coast of the Island overlooking 'submarine alley', the deep water passage down the west coast of the Island through which submarines from the Faslane and Holy Loch naval bases made passage.

In addition to the Isle of Man component of the TV programme filming was undertaken in Ireland where former TD Hugh Byrne (who cooperated with the Celtic League in the 1980s) was interviewed. Hugh Byrne probably did more than any other politician at the time to profile the issue and quoted extensively from League evidence in Dail debates on the issue. The crew also interviewed the skipper of the Motor Fishing Vessel (MFV) Sheralga (from Co Louth) which was towed under by HMS Porpoise in 1982. Although the Sheralga crew were left struggling in the water by the Royal Navy submarine, fortunately a passing fishing boat rescued them.

The new interest in the MFV/Submarine problem has been prompted by the controversial circumstances surrounding the sinking of the Breton trawler Bugaled Breizh in 2004.

We understand that the planned documentary will focus on the general issue of MFV/Submarine incidents and that there may be a further documentary, specifically on the Bugaled Breizh loss.

J B Moffatt Director of Information Celtic League


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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues. TEL (UK) 01624 877918 MOBILE (UK)07624 491609 (voir le site)

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