Documentary on One

My Dad

Many issues surround single or separated fatherhood - but we rarely hear the day-to-day realities of life for these fathers and their children.

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4.5/5 (89 ratings)

Documentary maker: Brian O'Connell

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My Dad

'My Dad' introduces listeners to three single or separated fathers as they tell us about their incredibly diverse circumstances and how their role as parents has changed their lives.

Often issues such as access and legal rights dominate debate around single or separated fathers in Ireland; we rarely get to hear about the day-to-day realities of life for these fathers or their children.

Their experience can be sidelined by wider debates and struggles, yet behind the statistics and changed family structures, human life continues.

Focusing on three fathers, all in very different circumstances, Brian O'Connell presents an insight into life as a single or separated father and prompts an honest and heartfelt reaction from parents and children alike.

We meet 23-year-old father of one Aidan Ryan from Ennis, County Clare. Aidan shares the parenting of his young son Cameron and talks about how his life has been impacted by becoming a father relatively young, and how his own family are helping him learn how to become a proper role model.

Widowed father of three Heino Schonfeld allows us an insight into a typical day in his home in Dublin where he cares for his three sons following the sudden death of their mother two years ago. Heino is upfront about the societal perceptions of single fathers, and his children candidly express how being raised by one parent has impacted on their lives.

Finally, we spend a night out in Cork with father of two Greg Canty and his 22-year-old son, Brendan. Greg separated from Brendan's mother when Brendan was a young age and father and son have maintained and developed a strong bond. Despite this, the separation still impacts on both their lives.

By getting unique access to the intimate relationships between three single fathers and their children, this documentary is concerned with the personal and emotional side to single or separated fatherhood.

At a time when Irish society is changing rapidly and traditional family structures are adapting with it, this is a timely and acutely observed look at how some fathers are coping with that societal shift.

"My Dad" is recorded, compiled and narrated by Brian O'Connell.

Production Supervision by Series Producer Liam O'Brien.


Original Score by Brian Carey.


First broadcast Saturday 19th March 2011.

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

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