A Fermanagh born producer’s defining three-part documentary investigation into child sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Australia has shone a spotlight on a very dark part of life on the other side of the world.

Nial Fulton, who left Enniskillen 16 years ago, wanted to do something “that has never been done before” when he secured face to face interviews with two of Australia's most notorious serial paedophiles for his ABC television series ‘Revelation’.

The in-depth interviews were carried out by journalist Sarah Ferguson with an ordained priest and a religious brother convicted of historical child sexual abuse, and Nial also had unprecedented access to film their trials as they unfolded in court.

Throughout the long-running scandal of clerical abuse in Australia there was one voice that had not been heard - the perpetrators. The former Portora Royal School student was determined to secure interviews with them, not to simply give those who committed such crimes a platform, but to question and challenge them, examine how the church enabled them and explore the issue to help stop it from happening again.

“We wanted to do something that no one had ever done before. We wanted to convince a convicted paedophile to go on camera, mindful there is always a real risk of giving people like this a platform on camera. But it hadn’t been done before.

“We still felt there was something to be said about speaking to these men and there is a justification for doing this because if we don’t understand why they did they did we run the risk of it happening again,” Nial told The Impartial Reporter.

One of the interviews was conducted behind bars in a maximum-security prison where Bernard McGrath, a former brother from the Order of St John of God and headmaster in residential schools in Australia and New Zealand, is serving 39 years for crimes against children.

“He was in custody so we had to negotiate with him in court to get consent to film his trial, then we went into a prison to interview him. He revealed the names of the men who concealed his abuse so we were then able to open up the concealing of the world’s worst child abusers,” explained Nial.

Vincent Ryan, a priest of the Maitland-Newcastle diocese on the eve of his trial. Ryan had already spent 14 years in prison and was facing new charges from men who had been altar boys in his church in the 1970s and 1980s.

“We asked him if he would be interested in being interviewed and he said yes. These are the voices through the preparators themselves and what control the Catholic Church had on society,” he said.

Before our interview, Nial had received an e-mail from a woman who e-mailed him to say she had watched his television series and decided to disclose she had been abused by a priest when she was 16.

“We interviewed these men with the consent of many of their victims and for a lot of victims this was their only opportunity to have their story told publicly.

“For so many victims the only recognition they got was during the trial. This was an opportunity for them to tell their stories on a national platform.”

Nial admits he has been “deeply moved” by the survivors accounts, particularly as he is the father of three children, aged 15, 15 and nine.

“Some of these men who had been abused were the same age as my kids are now. I think that really hammers home this and it is very hard not to be affected by the idea of a child being violated in such a horrific way; physically, emotionally, spiritually.

“These abusers don’t look like monsters if you pass them in the street and yet the committed the most henous crimes imaginable. When you are in a room with them you struggle not to let your revulsion knock you off course,” he said.

Australian journalist Joanne McCarthy and the Newcastle Morning Herald’s investigation of the Catholic Church’s response to the sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Hunter region of New South Wales was a decisive factor in the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s decision to appoint the royal commission into institutional responses to child sexual abuse.

Five years later and the report found that the hierarchical nature of the church, coupled with its lack of governance, had created "a culture of deferential obedience" in which the protection of paedophile priests was left unchallenged.

He believes a similar inquiry should take place back home in Fermanagh where in the past year there have been a multitude of child sexual abuse allegations made against men and women following a long-running investigation by The Impartial Reporter.

“Joanne is one of the most extraordinary people imaginable and it took something like that scale to shake the Catholic Church. It was all about all institutions and they were all put under the spotlight. People were given the opportunity to tell their stories for the first time, privately and in public.

“I think the Australian model is something that we should look at in Northern Ireland. I think it’s not even whether it helps [in Fermanagh], it’s inevitable that it has to happen. I think it’s important for these institutions to be held to account. In relation to Fermanagh I’d love to think that at some point it leads to a similar inquiry. That cleansing is necessary; the alterative is unthinkable to Allow this this to fester without closure,” he said.