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RTE Television

Hostile Environment

Episode One

In episode one Liam Cunningham enters the world of ex Special Forces soldier Paul Butler, a journey which begins amongst the super wealthy of the French Riviera and onto the diamond mines of poverty stricken Liberia, one of the most Hostile Environments in the world.

The modern private security industry is one of the fastest growing in the world, and today generates over $100 billion dollars annually. It's a global industry but one which is dominated by Irish operators.

Cunningham's journey begins in Cannes in February 2011 when he travels to meet Paul Butler, an ex Irish Ranger who runs a successful private security company in the South of France. He first encounters Butler on the firing range as he puts his team through their paces. Butler provides protection to high net worth clients and celebrities who spend their summers holidaying in the exclusive French resort. He finds out about Butler's background and his formative years in Youghal, County Cork and his path to becoming part of one of the most respected military elite forces in the world.

From the luxury of Cannes, Butler's next assignment will take him to West Africa where he has secured a government-approved diamond license. Butler's job is to provide verification of the product, protection to clients on the ground and to oversee the safe transportation of the purchased gems out of this hostile environment. With all diamond transactions conducted in cash, it's high risks for high returns.

Episode Two

The second episode of Hostile Environment takes Liam Cunningham to the Seychelles as he follows three Irish Ex Defence Forces personnel who have made a significant contribution in dealing with security threats to the Seychelles Government and people.

The Seychelles has had issues with kidnapping and extortion and significant drug and piracy problems. Although it's a tiny island in the Indian Ocean its security it has become internationally significant as almost one third of all the oil in the world passes through the Indian Ocean. Liam sets out to find out how Irish personnel have had a significant impact in turning around the security of this island nation.

Declan Barber and Niall Scully are ex-intelligence officers (spooks) who where first brought in to the islands after the Seychelles Government suspected that sensitive information was being leaked. Barber and Scully discovered that the entire Parliament building was bugged. They have since helped to formulate a national security plan for the Seychelles government and Scully now heads up the National Drug Enforcement Agency, while Barber runs the Financial Intelligence Unit (modelled on CAB and set up with the help of Barry Galvin).

Liam also meets ex Army Ranger Seamus Griffin, who was brought in by Barber and Scully to set up and train the Tazar Unit, the Seychelles Anti-Terrorist Unit. To date the unit has successfully stopped five separate pirate attempts, resulting in the release of 35 hostages and the capture of 63 pirates.

In the action-packed second episode Liam takes part in an NDEA drug operation to track $50,000 dollars worth of heroin being collected by a courier and later goes on a midnight raid to apprehend the leader of a gang who had threatened NDEA agents with a machete-wielding gang.

Hostile Environment
  • RTÉ One, Monday, 9.35pm