Following the publication of Nicola Tallant’s best-selling book The Witness, a powerful new documentary podcast series hears Joseph O’Callaghan telling his own story.
The Witness: In His Own Words tells how in 2005 Joseph O’Callaghan’s testimony helped convict two drug-dealing gangsters for murder, and he became the youngest person ever to enter the Witness Protection Programme in Ireland.
Now, as the men he put away agitate for release, he tells his extraordinary life story in his own words for the first time.
Aged 12, Joey talked his way into an after-school job with the local milkman. It was the beginning of a decade spent in the heart of Dublin’s gangland, living under the violent and abusive control of Brian Kenny — milkman, gangster and drug dealer. When he witnessed the aftermath of a rival gang member’s murder, Joey knew it was time to escape.
From his teenage years spent trapped in the criminal underworld, through to living as a grown man under a false identity, Joey’s life exposes the deep scars caused by social deprivation, drug-fuelled gang warfare, and the callous arms of the state.
Joseph O’Callaghan says: “I once lived a normal life, but something happened that changed my future forever. It was something simple. I got a job on a milk round. I was 12 and nothing was ever the same again.
“The journey I’ve been on since has brought me into a darkness I didn’t even know existed. I’ve seen things I don’t want to remember but can never forget. I’ve been scared, silenced and brought to the brink of death. But I’m here. I survived.”
Nicola Tallant adds: “I have been enthralled listening to Joey O’Callaghan’s story since I first met him on a canal bank in Dublin almost 10 years ago. Groomed into gangland and forever a prisoner to his past, Joey tells his story with conviction, honesty and a rawness that I have never heard before or since. A judge and jury believed his truth.
“I have believed his truth and now the listener can hear Joey’s story for themselves and make up their own minds.”
The series was produced by the team behind The Stand with Eamon Dunphy podcast. One of the team met Nichola, who was a regular contributor to their podcast, while she was writing the book of Joseph’s story. They asked her if she thought Joey would do a series with them and that’s the story became a powerful documentary podcast series.
It was launched in May, soon finding an audience in Ireland, but it is now growing in the UK, USA, Canada and particularly in Australia, with listeners also in many other countries too.
The Witness: In His Own Words is available to listen HERE.