News & Events

States of Fear – 15 years on

To mark the 15th anniversary of the broadcast of States of Fear, the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund in association with the Irish Film Institute and RTÉ present a day of screenings and discussions on May 24th.

The ‘States of Fear’ series of documentaries were produced by Mary Raftery and broadcast on RTÉ Television in 1999.  The documentaries are credited with bringing to light the suffering of children at church and state-run institutions, and were central in delivering a State apology to those who suffered.

The anniversary event – ‘States of Fear – 15 Years On’ – is being supported by RTÉ and the IFI.  It forms part of a wider programme of films at the IFI, screened throughout the month of May, which focus on children in care.

The full ‘States of Fear’ series will be screened on 24th May, including ‘Industrial School System’.  This particular screening will be followed by a panel discussion chaired by Aine Lawlor.  The panel participants will include Sally Mulready (Irish Women Survivors Network); Colm O’Gorman (Founder of One in Four and CEO of Amnesty); Patsy McGarry (The Irish Times) and Caitriona Crowe (National Archives of Ireland).

A short seminar examining the relationship between investigative journalism and documentary / film-making will also take place on the day.  The panel will be chaired by Senator Fiach MacConghail and participants will include Paul Maguire (RTÉ Investigations Unit); Anna Rodgers (Film Maker); Sheila O’Connor (Patient Focus) and writer Roddy Doyle.

Speaking ahead of the anniversary event, David Waddell, Chairperson of the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund said:  “The primary purpose of this anniversary event is to highlight the very important role which investigative journalism and documentary-making can have.  While gaps remain, the ‘States of Fear’ documentary series was hugely instrumental in opening a public debate and a policy response on child abuse.

“The anniversary event offers an opportunity for everyone – from journalists to policy makers and those charged with the care of our children – to reflect on where we have come since.  It gives young adults, who won’t recall the original broadcasts, an opportunity to experience an important part of our history.  Ultimately, it will highlight the role and importance of quality, investigative journalism.”

‘States of Fear – 15 years on’ will run from 11am – 6pm on Saturday, 24th May at the IFI.  Programming details are available from  Tickets for the full-day programme are €10, or €5 for individual screenings / events, and can be obtained from: IFI Box Office at 01 679 3477 /