Belfast Telegraph

Watch: Liam Neeson recalls memories from childhood in Northern Ireland

Liam Neeson (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
Liam Neeson (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Hollywood actor Liam Neeson has recalled memories of his childhood in Northern Ireland to mark World Children’s Day 2019.

UNICEF, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, describes World Children’s Day as a “time to celebrate and a time to demand action” for children's welfare across the globe.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child.

To commemorate the day, UNICEF ambassador Neeson shared memories of growing up in Ballymena during the Troubles.

Neeson (67), who was brought up in an Irish Catholic working class family, said he would describe his childhood as "normal".

"Everything revolved around school, amateur boxing, sports after school. My happiest memories were working on my uncle's little farm in the summertime, making hay and milking cows," he said.

On the Troubles, the Ballymena man said: "Things now in the north of Ireland certainly are much, much better for children.

"I do a lot of work for integrated education to educate Protestant kids and Catholic kids together which is proving to be very, very successful in the north of Ireland, certainly with parents and certainly with the children."

Speaking previously about his mission to integrate schools in Northern Ireland, Neeson said: "We look to our children for the future, so why do we continue to educate them apart, different religions, different backgrounds, different schools? There is another way.

"Most people agree that educating children together is a better way forward for our society. It's time to turn our aspiration into reality, to believe in your children and believe in their future."

The Taken actor has has supported UNICEF since 1997 when he was the public face of the Change for Good partnership.

"I've had a certain amount of success in the film industry and I've been very lucky as well and I felt a number of years ago I wanted to give something back, and nobody better than UNICEF, a great, great organisation," he added.

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