Finding Banni

Colm Flynn, Producer And Presenter of "Finding Banni", discusses his incredible story On The High Noon Show.

Last November RTÉ 2 broadcast a documentary made by Colm Flynn about a little boy called Banni that my family tired to adopt around 15 years ago.

'Finding Banni' told the story of how this little boy first came to be with a family in Ennis, Co. Clare when Colm was 12 years of age. Banni was an orphan from Belarus and like so many other children in the region was suffering the long term effects of radiation from the fallout of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Like many families across the country, Colms family offered to host a 'Chernobyl child' for what was only meant to be a week. As soon as he arrived at our door, the family all feel instantly in love with young Banni who was around six or seven at the time.

The adoption process was started and everything was cleared on the Irish side. Banni stayed with the family for the next year and was making huge progress. He was eating proper food, learning to walk; going to a special needs school and feeling what it was like to be loved by a family for the very first time.

 A year and half later the family got a phone call and were told Banni had to go back to the orphanage in Belarus for 'routine checks', and we never saw him again. As part of the documentary Colm travelled back to Belarus to meet Banni, now 21, and tried to get some answers as to what went wrong.

The story does not have a happy ending. There is no clear reason why Banni was not allowed to be adopted by the family and allowed to stay in Ireland.

Listen back to Colm Flynn discussing his incredible story with George Hook on The High Noon Show.