What role do nuns have in Irish society?

Father Peter Lemass introduces the first of two programmes in the 'Radharc' series looking at the place and image of nuns in Irish society.

If the work they are doing is going to continue, they must be able to attract young people into their ranks. Young people who see the way nuns work and live and who like what they see.

However, the number of young people choosing vocations is fewer and fewer. John Wall meets two young girls who talk about their impressions of nuns and what it means to be a nun. One of the girls comments,

The idea of a veil is thoroughly ridiculous

While another says, 

I think they fulfil a role in society... where would we be, say in education or hospitals or anything except for nuns? 

'Are Nuns Human?' was the first in a two part programme on nuns. This programme was broadcast on 19 January 1971 with John Wall reporting.

'Radharc', a series specialising in religious programming, was produced for RTÉ by Radharc, an independent production company run by Catholic priests and lay staff. 'Radharc' can be translated to English as 'view' or 'panorama'.

Co-founders Fr Joe Dunn and Fr Desmond Forristal, who had received training in television production in New York in 1959, gathered around them a team of like minded priests with creative talent.

The 'Radharc' team made their first production in 1960 in Donegal, a short film about customs relating to St Brigid's Day. The first programme in the 'Radharc' series for RTÉ was broadcast on 12 January 1962.

Between 1961 and 1996 the Radharc team would produce over 400 films in Ireland and 75 countries worldwide. The films dealt with human rights, injustice, faith, religion, persecution, struggles against oppressive regimes, famine, and Christian heritage.

The popular series ended production in 1996 after the death of Father Joe Dunn.