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War Stories
HostageRTÉ One, Friday, 8.30pm

Programme Three

Long Walk to Freedom

Ethiopia, 1988. Two young Irish nurses, working with Concern are kidnapped by the O.L.F. – a liberation movement in the western part of the country. Held hostage for a month, they are made to walk 600 miles before regaining their freedom.

Almost a million people died in the Ethiopian Famine of 1984/1985 and the television images touched the hearts of many. Two Irish nurses, Fiona Quinn and Mary Coen, felt moved to offer their professional services, and in 1987 they travelled to remote Western Ethiopia to work on a Concern project. The following April they were taken hostage by a guerrilla army, the Oromo Liberation Front. And so began a long and gruelling march across the border into Sudan. Here they were eventually released.

Fiona, originally from Kildare now living in Athlone, and Mary from Co. Galway, tell their own story. It’s a story that, at its heart, is about enduring friendship.


Fiona Quinn and Mary Coen
Fiona Quinn and Mary Coen