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'I hope you listen to Radio Three, Ma'am, it can be very good for your soul': Sean Rafferty

NI-born broadcaster Sean Rafferty (73) has homes in London and Donegal and presents BBC Radio Three’s In Tune. He tells Editor-at-Large Gail Walker about finding out he was adopted, tough times at boarding school, how he struggled to find the right career, meeting the Queen, his Brexit fears for NI and the event he’s hosting to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in poetry and song.

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In the studio: Sean Rafferty presenting his programme on Radio Three

In the studio: Sean Rafferty presenting his programme on Radio Three

Sean Rafferty with poet Seamus Heaney

Sean Rafferty with poet Seamus Heaney

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In the studio: Sean Rafferty presenting his programme on Radio Three

Q. As a child growing up in Newcastle, Co Down, you were told you were adopted. Was that traumatic?

A. My mother told me, but I can’t remember what age I was when she did so. But she did do it in the only way to do these things, which was to wait until I was old enough to have some cognisance of what she was saying. Of course, I didn’t understand it completely but it was very beautifully put: "We chose you." She said all the right sort of things. Just a few months later a friend of my sister came out with: "Oh, you’re adopted." I think if I hadn’t been told previously by my mother and I’d had to question it then I think I would have found that very, very difficult. There’s nothing to be gained by keeping any of these things in, it’s better for people just to be honest.

Q. Have you ever had any desire to find out more about your birth parents?


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