Father Joe Dunn, one of the founders of the company and television series Radharc, talks about unjust politics.

Radharc is the title of a series of documentaries broadcast by RTÉ between 1962 and 1996. The first programme was broadcast on January 12 1962, twelve days after the new Irish television service was launched. Over the following thirty four years, more than four hundred programmes were televised.

Shining a light onto social, religious and moral issues in Ireland, Radharc's series was far reaching. Film crews travelled the world making programmes looking at faith, religion, social justice, persecution, human rights, and struggles against oppressive regimes.

Appearing on The Late Late Show to talk about his book 'No Tigers In Africa : Recollections And Reflections On 25 Years of Radharc' Father Joe Dunn is asked by presenter Gay Byrne to explain a statement he made about unjust political situations in Central America, and is surprised that to hear a Catholic priest's view that,

Many of these countries need Communism to break the cycle of inequality.

Father Dunn cites the example of Guatemala in 1954 where agrarian reforms by the democratically elected President Jacobo Arbenz clashed with the wishes of large landowners and led to a CIA (United States Central Intelligence Agency) backed coup d'état which deposed him and installed military dictator Carlos Castillo Armas.

Due to the unstable political situation in their country since that time ordinary Guatemalans have endured much suffering. An estimated 100,000 people have been killed, one million are estimated to have been displaced and a quarter of a million were forced to seek refuge in neighbouring Mexico and Honduras.

This is a direct result of a powerful minority holding onto their wealth says Father Dunn, and requires all options for change to be considered.

In those kind of situations you have to have a radical government.

As someone who considers himself to be a pacifist, this standpoint has been challenged having encountered people in Central American countries who have lived through military dictatorships.

One in particular, a Nicaraguan Catholic priest, had wrestled with the ethics of supporting revolutionaries in his country but was content with his decision,

He said that after Jesus Christ, the most beautiful thing in his life was the revolution.

It is also not possible to judge a person who has experienced that type of situation, believes Father Dunn,

Who’s to say to somebody in Nicaragua that you should just knuckle down. I don’t think you can do that.

The Late Late Show broadcast on 28 November 1986. The presenter is Gay Byrne.