Belfast Telegraph

Football boss moved by Dalai Lama

Heartbroken Gaelic football manager Mickey Harte revealed he was profoundly moved during an emotional gathering with the Dalai Lama.

The Tyrone boss, whose daughter Michaela was murdered on honeymoon in January, and his grieving son-in-law John McAreavey, made a 700km round trip to see the Tibetan spiritual leader in Limerick.

"We wanted to be here, we had the opportunity to be here and we're grateful for the opportunity," he said. "We hoped we would find something of value and we have."

The pair joined more than 3,000 people who packed into the University of Limerick's sports arena to hear the exiled Nobel peace laureate on the final day of his two-day visit.

Mary and Anthony Geoghegan, the mother and brother of murdered rugby captain Shane Geoghegan, former rugby international Keith Wood and former Bishop of Limerick Donal Murray were among them.

A devastated Mr Harte, who also lost two brothers over the past six months, described the 76-year-old world leader's talk about compassion and forgiveness as a very personal experience.

"That's a real strong message for anybody, of the value and power of forgiveness," he said. "Not every one of us can take that on board to that extent, but there is a certain lesson there for us to aspire to."

Speaking about his own personal torment, he said: "Every day is emotional." Mr Harte, known for his deep spirituality, said he had taken a lot from the Dalai Lama. "He's a special man and the simplicity of his message is profound," he said. "Maybe that's what we ought to look for - the simple things in life. That's where real value lies and I think we all learnt that today."

In his first visit to Ireland in two decades, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, delivered an address on the power of forgiveness, organised by his friend Richard Moore.

The Children in Crossfire charity boss was shot and blinded, aged 10, by a British soldier as he made his way home from school in Derry, Northern Ireland, in 1972. Described by the Buddhist leader as "my hero", Mr Moore sought out the soldier who struck him, Charles Innes, and the two later became friends.

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