20 January 2006

How I sneaked Adair back into the Shankill: film maker Donal

Belfast Telegraph

By Clare Regan
20 January 2006

Investigative journalist Donal McIntyre told today how he sneaked exiled former UDA commander Johnny Adair back into the Shankill in the dead of night just a few weeks ago.

The award-winning filmmaker revealed details of the documentary he is currently making with the ousted loyalist terror boss.

The producer and director was reluctant to give away the most fascinating revelations from his adventures following 'Mad Dog's' efforts to settle in the Scottish town of Troon where he is living after his release from prison.

But McIntyre did reveal that some of the filming, which has been taking place over the last four months, did take place in Northern Ireland.

"We returned to Belfast with Johnny Adair a couple of days before the New Year. He took us back to some of his old haunts and safe houses in the Shankill area when there was no-one around," he said.

"We went to within yards of the homes of men who want to kill him. For Johnny, it was quite a scary experience. It wasn't really as frightening for us, we had taken all the usual safety precautions."

McIntyre said he asked to do the documentary because of a fascination with Adair's reputation.

"Politically, Northern Ireland politics does not ignite my fire. But the thing I am interested in is people who live on the edge. Adair is a major figure from the loyalist side. He's a character and I was fascinated by that."

The journalist said he would be making no judgment on the terrorist and would let viewers make their own decisions. Filming is to go on for another six weeks and it is hoped the programme will be broadcast sometime in April.

"There will be an expected dance between the image that Adair wants to portray and the best that we can get out of him," he added.

"We make no moral judgment. We just follow him and take a measure of the man. We tell the truth."

McIntyre will next be seen on our screens with the two-part documentary, A Gangster's Funeral, which will broadcast on Channel Five this Monday and on January 30.

The programme revisits Dominic Noonan in Manchester - a gay, Urdu speaking criminal who has spent half his life in jail.

"We catch up with him as he faces trial on charges of kidnapping and torture and deals with the consequences of his brother's murder," McIntyre added.

"It gives you an idea of the kind of approach that we take to these documentaries. Like Adair, he's a fascinating man who lives on the edge."

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