Belfast Telegraph

Patrick Kielty speaks of moment he found out about father's murder

Northern Ireland comedian Patrick Kielty has spoken about the moment he found out about his father's murder.

Kielty's father Jack was murdered by the UFF in 1988.

Speaking to the BBC's Stephen Nolan Show, the comic was reflecting on his father's death and the legacy of violence in Northern Ireland ahead of the broadcast of a BBC 1 documentary entitled 'My Dad, the Peace Deal and Me'.

On making the documentary, Kielty said he thought it was "important to let people know that you’ve got skin in the game, like so many other people".

He said he was in school when he found out his father had been killed.

"I was putting up Comic Relief posters, which I hadn’t asked permission for, it was the very first Comic Relief," he said.

"I was called down into the headmaster’s office. I thought, absolutely certain, that this was what I was in trouble for. And I walked into the headmaster’s office. One of my dad’s friends was there.

"I was told to sit down. And then everything just kind of goes into a sequence of events which you know you’re going through but it doesn’t feel real. From the point he says ‘your dad’s been shot’. I know I said ‘is he dead?’ They said ‘yes he is’.  

"I remember going home. I remember the news report. And one of the interesting things about making this documentary, I had never seen the news report in 30 years. I had never had any will or want to go back to that."

Kielty said his father's killers being brought to justice helped him come to terms with it.

"I think maybe, because we were one of the lucky families in Northern Ireland where people were actually caught, they were charged. There was a trial, we sat through it, we saw justice being served. I think in a weird way that may have taken a lot of that anger away," he said. 

Much of the documentary focuses on different experiences with the Good Friday Agreement, and the progress made in Northern Ireland since it was signed.

Kielty says in the documentary that he voted for the agreement, despite the fact it meant the men who killed his father walked free.

On the current political situation, Kielty said Northern Ireland was "thriving in spite of politicians, not because of them".

"I felt frustrated, I felt frustrated that families like mine, which had gone through pain, we’d signed up to the Good Friday Agreement. We’d decided we wanted to have a new society and a new future. And 20 years on there’s not even a government in Northern Ireland."

He also spoke about the potential damage a post-Brexit border could have for Northern Ireland, and that such a move could push moderate nationalists towards support for a united Ireland.

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