James Greer - From Paramilitaries to Peacemaker
James Greer shares his powerful story of joining the UDA, ending up in prison and then the transformative experience that led him to the path of a peacemaker. This clip was taken from our podcast with James, available on our YouTube channel or wherever you get your podcasts.
Kathleen Gillespie: The day her husband became 'The Human Bomb'.
On 24 October 1990 Patsy Gillespie was chained into his seat and made to drive into an army base with a van carrying over 1200 pounds of explosives. Kathleen Gillespie, Patsy’s widow, is a remarkable woman of courage, passion and empathy. In this short clip, Kathleen describes the events surrounding that day when her husband became known as 'The Human Bomb'.- This clip is taken from our podcast with Kathleen Gillespie and Anne Walker, available on our YouTube channel or wherever you get your podcasts.
GOTF Podcast - Liam Ó Maonlaí: Songs and Conversation, Live from An Cuan
Liam Ó Maonlaí is probably best known as lead singer for the Hothouse Flowers, one of the biggest bands in Ireland in the 90’s, and still loved today. As a band they are still producing music and Liam continues to collaborate with the band and with all of Ireland’s best musicians today. Liam is passionate about the Irish language, his songs are steeped in a mystical spirituality, particularly Songs From The Rain. In this interview we hear not only the story behind some of the songs but he also plays 5 beautiful stirring versions. He plays a song from Songs From The Rain, he plays a completely apt song for the Covid times we are in called Worry Not, also a hauntingly beautiful song that can be used in a Catholic mass written by Seán Ó Riada, and a Sean-nos song. Sean-nos is a very traditional way of singing Irish traditional music. All of this, as well as Liam’s exceptional musicianship and his contemplative spirit gives this interview a unique feel.
GOTF Podcast - Dr Gabriel Scally
This is a fascinating interview with one of the U.K. and Republic of Ireland’s leading public health experts. Dr Gabriel Scally has been a regular commentator on News channels for the last year, often taking the British government to task for their failings in their dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. He has been serving society as a doctor for over 40 years with public health being his main focus in that time. In this interview we chart his life from growing up on the Falls Road in West Belfast during the civil rights movement and early days of the Troubles, his travels as a young man to Chile, Angola and Burkina Faso, and some of the many achievements in his career. It is fascinating and heart wrenching to hear him describe his work on the failings in the Republic of Ireland on the Cervical Check programme. What comes shining through in this episode is Dr Scally’s fierce determination to advocate for those most marginalised in society and to advocate for Public Health policies that will benefit all of those in society. We also touch on the subject of abortion. This is obviously one of the most divisive subjects in many Western societies. I was keen to create a space for someone like Dr Scally to articulate what would have motivated him in his advocacy for reproductive rights in Northern Ireland. As we try to build a broad catalogue of podcasts dealing with all of life, this episode adds a new dimension.
GOTF Podcast - Seán Farren: The Legacy of John Hume & Irish Peace Today
Seán Farren has been a local politician in Northern Ireland for over 40 years representing the SDLP. He has much to say about Brexit and the prospects of a lasting peace in Ireland. He is also the chairman of the new foundation that is honouring and building on the legacy of Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume, the John and Pat Hume Foundation. One of the books Seán has written was “John Hume: Irish Peacemaker” (2015) and indeed Seán was in the room in Clonard Monastery when secret talks were begun with John Hume and Gerry Adams in 1988. Ten years later in 1998 these talks undoubtedly can be seen to have paved the way for the end of thirty years of civil conflict and the robust peace we have lived with in Northern Ireland since 1998’s Good Friday agreement. In this interview we focus a lot on John Hume who passed away in the summer of 2020 and hear Seán’s reflections on this man who became a giant of peace in this land. John Hume said “Difference is of the essence of humanity. Difference is an accident of birth and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. The answer to difference is to respect it. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity.” This is an interview with a man who has lived through our conflict in the north of Ireland and someone who has played his part in bringing peace here too.
GOTF Podcast - Richard Moore: A Rubber Bullet, Forgiveness and The Dalai Llama
Richard Moore was blinded by a plastic bullet after being shot by a British soldier in Derry. This was 1972, Richard was ten years old and it was just weeks after Bloody Sunday where one of his uncles was killed. Since that time Richard has become something of a modern day saint. I remember hosting him two years ago in Rostrevor and being so blown away by what I heard. That day he quoted his friend the Dalai Llama: “we as humans have spent centuries developing the human mind, but we need to start to work on developing the human heart”. Richard is a down to earth man who is not used to complaining. He speaks in this interview, not about his lust for vengeance, but of his compulsion to forgive. In fact he speaks of developing a friendship in later life with the soldier who blinded him. This former military man did not initially say sorry. In fact it took him years. Finally he seemed to give in to the weight of mercy he was shown and expressed a “sorry” for what he had done to a 10 year old boy running through a school playground at Rosemount Primary School. Despite a lifetime of blindness Richard speaks of only a few times he dwelt on the sadness of losing his sight. He says he will often show a picture of his two girls to audiences he is speaking to. He says “you’re doing something I’ll never be able to do: you’re looking at my girls.” He then went on to talk about the gift of forgiveness, how it can’t change the past but how it can change the future. He has developed a charity “Children in Crossfire” which has impacted the lives of countless children around the world. This is an episode of profound hope in the midst of tragedy.