The Sitting Duck: the true story of Maureen Kearney

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By Liz Scales
Irish trade unionist Maureen Kearney, now 67, was gaslit, assaulted and raped for speaking the truth. Now, French film La Syndicaliste tells her story.
In the 1970s, always “been drawn to French culture”, Maureen Kearney won a grant to study at the University of Provence. There, she met and married French national Gilles Hugo. They moved to Paris, where Hugo worked as the CEO of a sound production firm and Kearney taught English to employees of nuclear engineering company Areva.
When Kearney noticed that her students were being mistreated under the firm’s lay-off scheme, she started lobbying on their behalf, and soon became one of the most powerful trade unionists in France’s nuclear industry thanks to her erudite speeches and unshakeable determination.
It was in this capacity that in 2011, she became aware of a strictly confidential contract involving Areva, the state-owned utility company Electricité de France (EDF), and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGNPC).

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