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Episode 167: The secrets behind Ireland’s witness protection programme

The programme has been thrust into the spotlight with the decision of Jonathan Dowdall to turn State witness against his former friend Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch

Jonathan Dowdall leaves court with his father Patrick

Nicola TallantSunday World

THE secretive Witness Protection Programme has been thrust into the spotlight with the decision of Jonathan Dowdall to turn State witness against his former neighbour and friend Gerry ‘The Monk’ Hutch.

But what is the Programme and when did it start? Is it a golden ticket out of trouble or a poison chalice for those who sign up?

Nicola Tallant chats with Maynooth University lecturer Aaron Harte Hughes, who is undertaking a PhD in the Irish Witness Security Programme. He tells of the lack of legislation around the programme, about the European recommendations being ignored by Ireland and about the difficulties its set-up poses to judges, witnesses and the accused.

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