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brave witness Shocking story of gangland state witness Joseph O'Callaghan breaks into top 10 of UK podcast charts

The podcast has hit the top ten in the overall charts over the past week in the UK.


Our girl Nicola Tallant chats with Joey O' Callaghan

Our girl Nicola Tallant chats with Joey O' Callaghan


Our girl Nicola Tallant chats with Joey O' Callaghan

The extraordinary story of the youngest ever person to enter the Witness Protection programme in Ireland is striking a huge chord with British audiences as it goes into the top ten of UK podcast charts

For years, the youngest Irish person ever to enter the Witness Protection programme was silenced but the raw telling of his story in his own words has shot up to the top of the British podcast charts this week.

Joseph O'Callaghan's harrowing description of being groomed by a criminal in the guise of a milkman as a vulnerable youngster in Dublin was a hit in Ireland but now it is striking a major chord with audiences across the water.

It appears to be part of a new wave of absorbing Irish crime stories attracting international interest.

The podcast has hit the top ten in the overall charts over the past week in the UK, hitting a high of No. 2 in the middle of the week – and it held the No. 1 spot in the True Crime podcasts across the water.

Joey O’Callaghan said this week that seeing the ten-part podcast rise to the top of the charts in Britain is a “huge moment for me” after spending so long in fear of speaking out.


“After everything I now stand here as a proud man with a voice. And to me that means so much when I’ve spent most of my life being told when I could and couldn’t speak. I’m so grateful to the people who’ve listened to the podcast and have read the book.”

The podcast, based on the best-selling book, The Witness by Sunday World Crime Editor Nicola Tallant, tells how he found himself trapped in the heart of Dublin’s gangland after innocently talking his way into an after-school job with the local milkman when he was just 12-year-old.

When he was just 19, he became the youngest person ever to enter the Witness Protection Programme in Ireland after his testimony helped convict two drug-dealing gangsters for murder

In the podcast, he tells in his own Dublin accent of the trauma and scars of a stolen childhood spent in the clutches of a murderer and how he has coped with a life looking over his shoulder.

The series, which was produced by the team behind The Stand with Eamon Dunphy, streaked up to the top of the charts this week ahead of hugely popular podcasts from the likes of Irish households names like Vogue Williams and Joanne McNally.

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“The Witness: in his own words is an extraordinary story about the decency and resilience of one young man”, said podcast producer Jane Gogan.

“Joseph O’Callaghan tells his story with great class and courage - it’s been a great privilege to play a part in getting his story heard and to see how his story has struck a chord with audiences so profoundly.”

It is one of the few Irish-made and very Irish-orientated podcasts to make such a mark across the water but it is part of a trend of Irish crime stories resonating with the much bigger British audience.

The West Cork story which won praise from publications like Time magazine, brought the unsolved 1996 murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier outside of the village of Schull on to a global stage.

The nuanced and fascinating 13-part investigation by English hosts, Sam Bungey and Jennifer Forde, brought listeners right to the heart of the case.

Spending more than two years in the southern beauty spot, they recorded hours and hours of interviews with people tied to the case including Ian Bailey.

Since then, a Netflix and a Sky documentary have also retold the story putting an even more intense spotlight on the case which has remained tragically unsolved despite all the analysis by investigative journalists, police and prosecutors.

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