Irish soap opera “Fair City” has witnessed a huge surge in viewership figures recently, because of their controversial domestic abuse storyline.

The graphic plot which focused on the married couple Suzanne and Damien, saw Suzanne inflict regular beatings on her husband after she discovered he had been unfaithful.

The storyline had led to a rise in the number of calls to the national voluntary helpline Amen, which provides support for male victims of domestic abuse.

Over 721,000 viewers tuned in to watch the climax of the storyline between the two characters last week.

The viewership figures produced by TAM Ireland Ltd shows that the last week's pivotal broadcast figures were higher than those of  “Eastenders”, “Coronation Street”, “Emmerdale” and “Ros na Run” on at the same time.

The domestic abuse storyline has been running since September when the first violent scenes were broadcast. Damien's abuse, at the hands of his wife were revealed last week to their community as neighbors and family shunned Suzanne, played by Sarah Flood.

Conscious of the serious nature of the storyline, the show was researched and developed over an 18-month period with key bodies involved such as as Amen, Women’s Aid and Stop Seeing Red.

Brigie de Courcy, executive producer of “Fair City”, commented on the figures saying: “We’re delighted with this fantastically strong performance and being number one, particularly given the class and credentials of the soap company we’re keeping!

“This is down to the talent – of our storywriting team, cast and crew. We’ve done a lot of work in honing our craft and delivering what ultimately makes the difference – stories that really resonate and grip our viewers,” she added.