Documentary on One

Codename Paddy O'Brien

The story of an Irish father and son, who unbeknownst to one other, each lived double lives (Broadcast 2007)

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Documentary Maker: Ciaran Cassidy

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Documentary maker: Peter Woods

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Codename Paddy O'Brien

Jim and Donal O'Donovan are father and son. Unbeknownst to each other, both lived double lives, both connected to Germany and both at very crucial periods in the nation's history.

In the early months of 1939, the Nazis were in power and Germany was in the build up stages of World War Two. In Ireland Jim O'Donovan, on the surface, was a respectable civil servant with four young children. He was also the architect of the IRA's s-plan; a campaign to bomb mainland Britain.

Three times in 1939 and once with his wife, Jim O'Donovan visited Nazi Germany on behalf of the IRA. During the war Nazis, including Herman Goertz, parachuted into Ireland and hid in the O'Donovan house.

In 1963, the Berlin Wall was built, separating East from West Berlin. Donal O'Donovan at the time was an alcoholic but still a successful Dublin based journalist.

While attending a trade fair in Leipzig he was approached by the East German secret police - The Stassi. They wanted information and were willing to offer the Dubliner money.

O'Donovan crossed the border from West to East on seven occasions. His codename was Paddy O'Brien. Exchanging what he considered useless and information for cash, which he smuggled out in his shoes.

Compiled and presented by Ciaran Cassidy.

Production supervision Peter Woods

First Broadcast 25th July 2007.

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries

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