Donal McIntyre: dubbed Limerick the murder capital of Europe in 2008

A documentary aired on TV3 last week focusing on crime in Limerick has been slammed as "slanderous" and a formal complaint is being lodged to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (BCC) about its content.

The programme, Crime Capitals by undercover journalist Donal McIntyre, was the first in a series of documentaries that will attempt to uncover the extent of criminality in various parts of the country.

At the outset of the programme, footage of children jumping on the roof of a car is aired. However, the Sunday Tribune has established that this footage was not filmed in Limerick and is several years old. At the beginning of the programme, it is stated that McIntyre will interview "people involved in the feud". But at no point in the hour-long programme does McIntyre speak to anyone who alleges to be involved in criminality.

The documentary also states that Limerick was the murder capital of Europe in 2008.

Allen Meagher, editor of Changing Ireland magazine, based in Moyross, is lodging a complaint to the BCC about this assertion: "The slandering element was the false claim that the city was the crime capital of Europe in 2008. Both the Sunday Times and Channel 4 apologised last year for similar false claims, but TV3 have now repeated the slander. Yes, there were eight homicides in Limerick last year, but as local councillor Diarmuid Scully has pointed out, the dubious honour of 'murder capital' belonged last year to Corleone in Italy. The cities of Naples, Moscow, Talinn, Riga and Constantia all had higher murder rates than any Irish city."

TV3 was informed about some inaccuracies in the documentary before it was aired last week. Some of these inaccuracies were removed from the documentary.

Laura Ryan, of the Limerick co-ordination office, said she was "disappointed" by aspects of the programme. "The programme was a historical lesson on the feud in Limerick. There was nothing new in it from Limerick coordination office's point of view. We are disappointed there wasn't more of a focus on the regeneration plans for Limerick," she added.

Meagher said two local people who were interviewed for the programme were not told what is was about. One of these people later contacted TV3 to withdraw their consent to feature in the documentary.

"They said they wouldn't have agreed to be interviewed if they knew."

TV3 declined to comment.