"I never thought that in my lifetime, we’d see things moving backwards" - Patrick Kielty.
Popular UTV series ‘Eamonn Mallie Face to Face with……’ continues on Tuesday night, with the veteran journalist and writer sitting down with comedian and broadcaster Patrick Kielty.
In this wide-ranging interview, Patrick exclusively reveals his grandmother’s life story; talks about his father’s death; gives his views on the current political situation here; and tells Eamonn where he’d like his career go to next.
The wisecracks start straightaway, with Eamonn firstly asking him “do you think you’re beginning to grow up a bit?” to which Patrick replies “I think growing up is very much overrated….I’m trying to grow up but unsuccessfully”.
When Eamonn asks him about his upbringing and family connections to Dundrum, he exclusively reveals that his grandmother left his father behind as a young boy with his grandparents, while she went to live in America with a soldier whom she’d met here during the war.
Patrick tells the extraordinary story on how this closely-guarded family secret came to light, and how his dad struggled with the truth.
The circumstances around Patrick’s father’s death when he was 16 are well-documented, and he has often publicly spoken about that time in his life. However, he hasn’t previously revealed up until now that, as he flicked on the radio in his bedroom the night of the murder, it was Eamonn reporting his dad’s death that made him finally believe that it actually happened.
“Jack Kielty, 45, Contractor…..”
He says: “Lots of memories bleed into one, and thankfully with the passing of time, that’s a really good thing.”
He talks about how time doesn’t really heal wounds but that “it lets you spend time doing something else.”
On the topic of forgiving his dad’s killers, he says: “You don’t learn to forgive….. you learn to live….if you want to live, you have to accept what has happened.”
The second half of the interview covers his commentary on the current political situation, and the timely topic of the 25 th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.
Patrick comments, “I never thought in my life that we would see things moving backwards…when you see things not improving, and you see people who don’t understand what’s going on here making decisions that affect this place, it makes me angry.”
“If you’re going to improve this place, it’s important to call out some of the nonsense that’s been going on,” he says.
On being asked if he would he like a united Ireland, he said that growing up in a nationalist house in Northern Ireland meant it was what everyone around him wanted.
He says: “It’s a hugely complex thing, in terms of how would things change….would it be peaceful….?”
He adds: “Emotionally I want people on this island to live in peace.”
He said his recent foray into acting in the movie, Ballywalter was an ‘amazing experience’, and talks about how stand-up comedy has changed from his early days.
Finally Eamonn and Patrick talk about fame, with Patrick saying, “When you come from a country village in Co Down, it’s basically illegal to be famous.”
Commenting after the interview, on the disclosure by Patrick that it was his radio report which concreted the reality of his father’s death, Eamonn said “I was so shocked that I fell silent.”
“I hope viewers enjoy this and the rest of the series. The wide variety of people interviewed ensures that there is something very different in each of the episodes. I’ll cover the big topics but as usual there are some great lighter moments. I’ve enjoyed every one of them.”
This sixth series kicked off a few weeks ago with an exclusive interview with former Prime Minister Tony Blair, and each of the remaining episodes will see Eamonn at the now famous table with the green lamp chatting to well-known personalities, from the world of sport, the arts and politics, including singer Mary Black, Martin O’Neill and Dawn Purvis.
The first episode airs on Tuesday 21 st March at 10.45pm on UTV.
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