'grief tourism' | 

Viewers slam TG4 for airing ‘insensitive’ documentary on Creeslough tragedy

Some viewers were left so distressed that they had to switch off the programme.

Robert Garwe and Shauna Flanagan Garwe died in the tragedy

Denise SmithSunday World

Horrified viewers have slammed TG4 for cashing in on the Creeslough explosion after airing an ‘insensitive’ and ‘disgusting’ documentary about the tragedy that occurred just four months ago.

Despite heartfelt pleas from families who lost loved ones to shelve the project so they could have time to heal, the programme which documented the harrowing explosion that killed ten people less than 100 days ago was aired on Wednesday night.

Disgusted viewers took to Twitter in their droves to condemn the documentary with one viewer describing it as ‘grief tourism’.

“5 minutes into watching this and it’s pure grief tourism. These people shouldn’t have their trauma aired like this barely four months later. Heartbreaking for the families involved.”

Another user accused the station of exploiting the tragedy for ratings.

“Disgusting decision! Stoke up the trauma of families for ratings? Disregard their pleas for respect and time to mourn.”

Some viewers were left so distressed that they had to switch off the programme.

“watched 10 minutes of #TG4 #Creeslough documentary. Turned it off after they began talking of the little girl trapped under the blocks! #insensitive#thinkoftheafamilies#horrendoustiming#TG4 Should have postponed for at least one year!”

At least four families had asked for the documentary to be postponed, with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar calling on the station to sit down with victims' families before deciding whether to broadcast.

Robert Garwe and Shauna Flanagan Garwe died in the tragedy

Killian Flanagan who lost his five-year-old niece Shauna and sister’s partner Robert in the blast, pleaded with TG4 to remove the programme before it aired.

He said: “Tomorrow night Áine and others will be forced to look at a one-hour documentary revisiting the worst chapter of their existence, and seeing and hearing things for the first time and it’s not acceptable,” he told RTÉ’s Liveline.

The grieving uncle was speaking on behalf of his sister, who he says “hasn’t slept a wink” since she learned about the programme online.

He said: “She is trying to find out what happened and why it happened and last Tuesday it was sprung on everybody that TG4 had gone off and made the documentary."

In a statement released to RTÉ, a spokesperson for TG4 said: "The focus of the documentary 'Iniúchadh TG4 - An Craoslach’ is to shine a light on the people of the area who assisted in the rescue at the scene of the explosion.

"It contains interviews with some of those who risked their own lives while bringing others to safety. They speak compassionately and sensitively about the roles they played helping others in the face of great adversity.

"The programme does not report anything about the victims other than what has already been reported publicly in the direct aftermath of the tragedy."

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