Community Radio Drogheda covers rescue attempt of Irish woman in San Francisco

Community Radio Drogheda covers rescue attempt of Irish woman in San Francisco
Community Radio Drogheda sticker (courtesy of Ian Biggar).

In September 1981, a Donegal man attempted to rescue his daughter from a compound owned by the Unification Church (the ‘Moonies’) in San Francisco. After they were refused admission, James Canning and about 30 Irish-American supporters tried to break into the building and remove Mary Canning. Drogheda journalist Niall O’Dowd, who worked with the Washington Post, was the only reporter to witness the incident and was contacted by media all over the world for comment.

Knowing that a local man was on the ground, Community Radio Drogheda (CRD) wanted to cover the drama and on his lunchtime show on 16th September 1981, Gavin Duffy interviewed Niall O’Dowd about the incident. No doubt it helped that Niall’s brother Michael was news editor at CRD. Niall O’Dowd went on to become a highprofile figure in Irish America, founding the Irish Voice Newspaper and Irish America magazine as well as the website Irishcentral.com. Another brother Fergus became a Fine Gael TD for Louth.

Community Radio Drogheda broke away from Boyneside Radio in July 1981 and operated a separate service until May 1982 when the two stations merged again. We thank Eddie Caffrey for his donation of this recording, which begins with an ad break before the interview.