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The Enemy Files

Michael Portillo

Presented by former British Defence Secretary Michael Portillo,The Enemy Files is a film that offers a key perspective in a genuine understanding of the seismic events in Dublin in 1916.

The documentary tells the story of the Easter Rising as told in the testimonies of those who suppressed it – British spies, soldiers, politicians and bureaucrats.  This is the view from the other side.

By trawling through records suppressed for most of their existence, it tells of a conflict on the streets of Dublin one hundred years ago and sets these events against the backdrop of the Great War in Europe.  Featuring interviews with a wide array of contributors including renowned journalist Robert Fisk, former British Minister of State for Security and Counterterrorism Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones and former Chief of the General Staff General Lord Dannat, The Enemy Files explores hidden motives, withheld data and questionable interpretations of the facts.

This documentary goes to the heart of the intelligence that the British State had access to prior to the 1916 rebellion and the ever-increasing role that the rebels sought from Germany – “our gallant allies”.   Portillo of course, brings an understanding to the proceedings that reach far beyond the remit of the traditional presenter.  As a former Defence Secretary he has insight into the mindsets of the men who decided who lived and who died.

But Portillo creates something larger and more compelling than the mere particulars. He explores the Rising and goes well beyond it, to the darker side of warfare.  Hidden motives, withheld data and questionable interpretations of the facts are everywhere.

The Enemy Files is a challenging and controversial documentary that shines a light on the difference between truth and fiction, offering an alarming glimpse at the many distortions that shape our history.

Available on RTÉ Player now


Abbey Theatre, An Garda Siochana, Association of Professional Genealogists Ireland, Band of An Garda Siochana, Buswells Hotel, Capuchin Friary, Century Ireland, Cobblestone, Conradh na Gaeilge, Dubray Books Grafton Street, Dublin Fire Brigade Pipe Band, Dublin Institute of Technology, Eason’s O’Connell Street, Gallery of Photography. Garda Historical Society, Generator Hostel, Glasnevin Trust, Grafton Barbers, Hodges Figgis Dawson Street, Irish Film Archive, Irish Veteran & Vintage Car Club. John Shevlin Millinery, Little Museum of Dublin, Louis Copeland & Sons, Manning's Bakery, Massey Funeral Directors, Maynooth University, Merrion Square Artists Association, National College of Art and Design, National Library of Ireland, National Museum at Collins Barracks, National Transport Museum of Ireland, NUI Galway, Poetry Ireland, Queen's University Belfast, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Royal Dublin Fusiliers Association, Royal Hibernian Academy, St Michan's Church of Ireland Parish, St Michan's Roman Catholic Parish, St Vincent de Paul, SIPTU, The Four Courts, Trinity College Dublin, University College Cork, University College Dublin, University of Limerick, University of Ulster, Whyte’s Irish Art & Collectables, National Print Museum, Irish Guild of Weavers Spinners & Dyers, ICA, Feltmakers Ireland, Irish Woodturners Guild, Doran Barber Shop The Pram Doctor, The Merrion Square Artists Association, The Dice Bar, Third Space, The Family Resource Centre St. Michael’s Estate, Brown Bag Films, The Stoneybatter and Smithfield People’s History Project, The Revenue Museum,

RTÉ would like to gratefully acknowledge the support and participation of the individual speakers who were kind enough to share their research and private collections with the public as part of the RTÉ Reflecting the Rising project. A big thanks also to the many volunteers and actors who gave their time so generously to help make RTÉ Reflecting the Rising a memorable and successful day.

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