When Women Were Women


RTE Player is marking the station’s 50th anniversary by rooting through the Montrose archive for some hidden, if flawed, gems, including The Women’s Programme, presented by Doireann Ni Bhriain (second pic), Nell McCafferty (3rd pic) and Marian Finucane (above) and produced by Nuala O’Faolain and Claire Duignan (now RTE Radio MD) from the early 1980s.
The selected edition (chosen by a bloke, RTE Guide’s Michael Doherty) – watch here – from Winter 1984 was broadcast within days of the death of Ann Lovett, a 15-year-old girl who died while attempting to giving birth on her own in a grotto in Granard, Co Longford. A cold-eyed withering polemic and a well-aimed knee in the groin to Gay Byrne from Nell, whose name is oddly missing from the closing credits, opens proceedings and things go rapidly downhill after that. And by ‘rapidly’ we do mean 20 minutes of debate about sex education rather than a look at the real reasons why a schoolgirl and her baby son ended up dead. Worth it though to meet the excellently-named and truly frightening Sr Borgia (below). Goodnight sisters, indeed.