Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland (2023): Season 1, Episode 5 - Who Wants to Live Like That? - full transcript

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This all seems very atmospheric.

I just realised there, Sian,
you told me not to wear black!

And I have worn navy, which is...!
Is it OK? Does it look OK?

Um, it happens all the time.

Sorry about that.

I never even thought, to be honest.
I just, um...

I hadn't even thought.
I'm sorry about that.

Och, here, you're grand.

[ECHOING]: ...instantly, that if we're
going to do this, we should really

invite this IRA guy to come with us.

So then I would never have met
an IRA guy, so I didn't know

how I was going to feel.

As we were chatting this through,
the IRA guy...

I did a talk in a school.

And I was telling my story.

It was one of those moments
in my journey

that was the breakthrough moment.

And this one guy, this kid, got
up and he said, "Look, you know,

"with the greatest of respect...

"...your stories are your stories,
but they're not our stories.

"And we don't want to hear them
any more because as far

"as we're concerned, the Troubles
are over and people are getting

"on with their lives," and...

And he went on to say how he had
as many Protestant friends

as he had Catholic friends.

So I just thought for a moment,
then I asked the group of boys,

Catholic boys, probably about 16,
17-years-old, that when they left

school and got a job and settled
down, how many of them

would consider buying a house
or renting a house

on the Shankill Road?

And not one person
put their hand up.

And of course, the reason for that
is that we live in a divided

society. And the fact is that the
Shankill Road is a Protestant area

and that you wouldn't be safe
as a Catholic living there.

So if, you know, the Troubles
are over, how come people

wouldn't move into each other's
areas? Because we're not there yet.

You know, we have to have a shared
society that respects and values

everybody's contribution
to the society.

I'm talking now a bit like friggin',
you know,

like John Lennon or something,

I guess, you know, in terms of,
you know, I might as well get

the guitar and start singing
peace songs and stuff.

But it's about that, you know?

# Are you living in an old man's rubble? #

# Are you listening to the father of lies? #

# Are you walking with unnecessary burdens #

# Are you trying to take them upon yourself? #

# If you are... #

I'd know of Sharon for many years.

She played in a little gospel band.


But then in 1984,

I decided to become a Christian.

And I then decided that...

...I couldn't go and do the things
that I used to do.

So I used to always go out
with my cousin John drinking

on a Saturday night.

# Relax, don't do it #

# When you want to go to it #

# Relax, don't do it #

# When you want to come #

# Relax, don't do it... #

We were both Big Rod Stewart fans,
but you couldn't really be into

Rod Stewart, particularly after he
did Do You Think I'm Sexy? You know?

In those days, I didn't think
that Christians drank.

So I decided that that wasn't right
to do that any more.

And then I had nothing to do
on a Saturday night.

So my friend that, you know,
that I went to church with suggested

that I come along to the youth club,

and Sharon was there.

And, yeah, we... we started
going out that night, actually.

So I was a Christian about a week
when I met Sharon.

We were both from working-class
Protestant areas,

but we were very different
in many respects.

Her life from a very early stage
was very much centred

around the church,
where mine wasn't.

But I fell in love with her
very quickly.


I guess life was pretty set.

You know, you sort of fell in love,
got married, had a kid.

The Troubles were in full pelt,

even though there were efforts

to bring this to an end.

[ARCHIVE]: John Hume and Gerry Adams
say their series of meetings made

considerable progress towards
creating a lasting peace.

And that is major progress.

I don't really think
we had any huge expectations

of real change coming.

You know, we just thought that we
would always have the Troubles,

and so you kind of got on with
your lives in spite of the Troubles.


You hardly stopped to think,

"Oh, my goodness,
this is horrendous."

Back out of the way, there.
Come on, please.


There was an acceptable level
of violence.

Unless it was somebody
that you knew,

you know, you might as well have not
have happened because you didn't

really think about it at all.


Now, if you come across somebody
wearing a bright-red plastic nose

in the next few weeks,
don't be alarmed.

The chances are that they haven't
gone potty.

[ARCHIVE]: There were red noses on
many famous faces today.

The Comic Relief organisers want
more than a million people to wear

them on February the 5th.


First Comic Relief,

everybody was excited about red
noses and different things.


I remember going to school
and, like lots of other kids

who were 16, putting up your posters

for Comic Relief and being called
down into the headmaster's office,

and thinking,
"God, I haven't asked.

"I haven't asked permission to put
these posters up. Here we go,

"this is going to be like..."

You know, "Who do you think you are?
You and your posters?"

And the headmaster...

...said to me, um...

"I think you need to sit down."

There was a sort of a weird slow
motion, but a very quick exchange,

which was he said,
"Your father's been shot."

And I said, "Is he dead?"

And he said, "Yes".



[ARCHIVE]: Mr Kielty was sitting in
the office

when two hooded gunmen entered
around 11:30.

As his secretary watched in horror,

they shot him several times
at close range.

My dad was a building contractor,

and rather than pay protection money

to Loyalist paramilitaries,

he decided to go to the police.

You know, my dad was the chairman
of the Gaelic Football Club,

which would have been considered
a Catholic organisation.

So you put both of those together,

and, um, that was reason enough
for them to kill him.

Mr Kielty's eldest sons, John
and Patrick, carried the coffin.

The UFF, a cover name for the UDA,
admitted killing him.

My main thought was that I wanted
to be the person

that my dad wanted me to be.

I wanted to do something...

...and live my life
in a way that he would be happy

with how things have turned out.

And so

that was sort of the backdrop to

my university years and, um,

getting into stand-up.

Our next contestant
from Dundrum, County Down,

let's have a welcome
for Patrick Kielty. Patrick!


Hello. My name is Patrick Kielty

and I'm down
from Northern Ireland tonight.

You wanted to show people
that you were functioning.

You wanted to show people that...

...this sadness you were carrying,
this brokenness that you had,

wasn't everything about you.



Let me state it for you tonight,
quite categorically...

I started doing more material
about what was going on in the news,

and you had an audience
that had a real thirst for it,

and that became the Empire,
the Empire Comedy Club...

...which changed my life.


Hello and welcome to the Empire
Comedy Club here in Belfast.

This guy here, you could be a
policeman, couldn't you?

Yeah, with the sort of... Yeah?

With the hair there.

And you could be a Royal Irish
Regiment soldier, for all we know.

And this guy over here with the long
hair, you just look

as if you're out of Long Kesh,
don't you, sir? So...

Yes, we all know what you COULD be.

He's giving me that look, "I AM."

The sense of humour is very strong
in Northern Ireland.

You know, having fun in a bar,
having craic,

cos if you were being funny, you
didn't have to talk about yourself.

Cos nobody wanted to answer
the question, "How are you?"


"Let me take a moment
to actually work out how I am."

And then there was also
that thing of...

"Well, if I AM living,
we have to live."

I worked on the Shankill Road
in Moore's the butcher's.

And I remember the UDA coming into
the shop on one occasion.

They were basically Loyalist
paramilitaries and they were asking

us to put a poster up to say,
"This shop no longer sells goods

"from the Irish Republic."

But the irony was that these guys
were sitting there drinking pints

of Guinness with not a shade

of hypocrisy about the fact

they're drinking probably
the Irish Republic's biggest export!

And then you had stalls selling

counterfeit goods,

CDs and whatever else, you know,

and all of that money going to
support the war against the IRA.

Nobody... nobody saying anything
about it.

It was just normal life.

It was almost though I was oblivious
to what was going on around me.

And I think the complacency
was dangerous.

It was complacency on our part
of the family that, you know,

that meant that

my wife
and my father-in-law were working

in that fish shop on that day.

And if somebody had have sat
down with my father-in-law

to say, "Desmond,
this is a ticking time bomb...

"...where you have the shop,
because at some time the IRA

"are going to come onto the road,
they're going to attack the UDA

"and your shop is going to be
in the direct line of fire."

The staircase to the UDA
headquarters was literally right

next to the door of the shop.

And it wasn't a secret.

People knew that's where the UDA
had their headquarters.

[PATRICK KIELTY]: Having difficulty
with a mortgage?


Once your mortgage is in place,

we will make that all-important
phone call

from any phone box in the country.

Because when it comes
to real estate,

nobody shifts property
quite like we do.

I played clubs on each side
of the peace wall.

They sometimes very much laughed
in different places,

there was no doubt about that.
But it was, er...

I don't know. It was...

It was exciting.

Then that Saturday...


It was a Saturday, erm,
a really, really, really nice day.

The sun was shining.

It was October, so it was cold,
but it was just really, really nice.

So I decided, it being such a
nice day,

I would take Zoe for a spin
on my bike.

I thought I would do this, and then
I would go home and I would watch

Football Focus, which I did
every Saturday morning.

And we had a VHS recorder,
video recorder.

So I asked my wife, who was much
more technical than I was,

if she could set the recorder
for me, so she did.


I remember the last conversation
I had with Sharon was to ask her,

"Did you remember to hit

"the record button on the video
for the football?"

And she says, "Oh, Alan, I forgot.
I forgot to hit the..."

And I says, "Och, for...
Ah, come on."

Oh, I was... I was angry because I
wasn't getting to watch the football

so I says, "Right, that's just
buggered up my Saturday."

You know. So she went off and
I went off and I did the bike ride.






[ARCHIVE]: An IRA bomb in Belfast's
Protestant Shankill Road exploded

without any warning, killing 9
people and injuring another 57.

[ARCHIVE]: This was mass slaughter,
exactly as the bombers intended,

in the middle of the afternoon,

in the middle
of a busy Protestant area.

[ARCHIVE]: The IRA said its aim was to
kill Loyalist paramilitary leaders,

but the people here believe that the
planting of the bomb had shown

they didn't care who was killed.

The victims include the owner
of Frizzell's fish shop...

...and his daughter, Sharon.

They asked me then to go
to the morgue to identify the body,

and I couldn't do it.

I just couldn't do it.

Um... didn't want to go.

So, Beth, Sharon's sister, went.

And I've never even read
the coroner's report,

never went to the court case.
I just... I just don't want to know.

I just, I want to think of her
as a beautiful young woman.

You know, I don't want to think
of her and the bomb.

And, I mean, was she intact,

did she have all her, you know,
her limbs? I just

don't want to know. Do you know what
I mean? I just don't want to know.

Yeah. I'm sorry, I just...

Yeah, I'm just... yeah, um...




When I got married,

my friend actually said to Sharon
to make sure you look after him.

You know, I was the man, I should
have been looking after her.

But I was... I was like a child when
I was married,

and my wife was very strong.


And so this woman, who wasn't only
my wife and my soulmate, but also,

you know, the home-maker
in our house.

The IRA had come on to the road
that day and they'd taken it all.

You know, they'd taken it all.

I was...

I was in a rage, really.

I mean, and... I,

I was, you know,
the rage never really subsided.

And so it became
a question then of

well, what do I do with this rage?

And then, when I seen the images
of Gerry Adams carrying the coffin

of the guy that killed my wife,

I directed it at him.

[ARCHIVE]: The Sinn Fein President,
Gerry Adams, helped to carry

the coffin of Thomas Begley,
the IRA man who was blown up

planting the bomb.

Thomas Begley was dead

and the other
bomber, Sean Kelly, was in prison.

And I didn't know who else
was involved in the Shankill bomb,

but Gerry Adams was given
a political cover.

He was the president of Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein were the political wing
of the IRA.

So I suppose, you know,
he couldn't really cut them adrift.

Even though he was talking about
building peace and reconciliation.

We want to see an Ireland
which is inclusive.

He was still presiding over an
organisation that were carrying out

attacks against innocent civilians.
So it seemed to me that Gerry Adams

was speaking out of both sides
of his mouth.

The peace process in which we are
engaged threatens no-one.

And sometimes,
when I'm in my darkest moments,

I come very close to hate, you know?

[ARCHIVE]: While the SDLP leader John
Hume has been seriously embarrassed,

he's still resisting calls for him
to end his dialogue with Sinn Fein.

He insists that the murders make it
more important for him

to continue his search
for a peace formula.

The purpose of the talks is to get
a total cessation of violence.

And if I can do it by talking
and saving human lives by talking,

it's my duty to do so.

[ARCHIVE]: They came in their

The people of Belfast
united in grief.


We got to the end of that week

and we thought,
"Maybe we're through this."

You know, maybe...

...the worst thing that's happened
this week...

...is those poor people dying
on the Shankill Road.

But of course...

...that wasn't the case.

That tragedy wasn't the end
of the tragedy that week.

Greysteel happened a week later.

A bar just being sprayed by Loyalist
paramilitaries in retaliation.

[ARCHIVE]: UDA gunmen entered the
Rising Sun Bar in Greysteel

and shot dead seven people.


Two men came in and said,
"Trick or treat,"

then sprayed the whole place
with bullets.

But in between,

more people were killed.

These are people that are forgotten.

These are...


...devastating human tragedies...

...that are just
the bit in the middle.

[ARCHIVE]: The two council workers
murdered on Tuesday

were buried after a joint service
in West Belfast.

One of the supervisors said
the attack was an attempt to kill

as many Catholics as possible.

[ARCHIVE]: Last night, there was
another attempt at mass murder

by Loyalists.

Two men burst into a bar,
but their machine gun jammed.

Everybody knew something was going
to happen after the Shankill,

so they did.

And even though we...

...felt sympathy for the
people in the Shankill cos there

were innocent people
that got it too...

...doesn't help cos it's all
innocent people it's getting.


[ARCHIVE]: Last night, two brothers
were shot dead

in front of their 11-year-old

[ARCHIVE]: Her birthday party
had just finished

when two gunmen found her brothers

in the living room
and shot them both.

Nicest lads you could meet,
no matter where you'd go.

They'd done no harm to nobody.

[ARCHIVE]: If the same proportion
of murders

were carried out on the mainland

of Britain in relation
to the population,

we'd have had a thousand dead
in the past eight days.

I, um...

...I think that week helped...

...to force a change.

Sometimes you need to stare
into the abyss to realise that,

that this...

...this can't... this can't go on.

[CREW]: You think it took something
like that?

It took more than that.

It took all the years of it.

[ARCHIVE]: This was the peace rally
in Belfast.

It was yet another expression
of the yearning for peace.

[ARCHIVE]: The call for peace was
heard at another rally in the wake

of last month's massacres.

The people now of Northern Ireland

are delivering a message
to the paramilitaries...

get off our backs.
We don't want you any more.

Enniskillen was gripped by violence
six years ago.

Today, the townsfolk gathered again,
a people divided, joining together

to call for an end to the killing.

I want peace in our country
and I want peace for my... for my...

...children and for my grandchildren.


"Remember you took part in changing
history" was how people

in Strabane heard
they should look back on today.

I think people have had enough
and just wanted to show

- that they've had enough.
- There's been too many young lives lost.

And for what?

All we want is peace.
To live with each other.

You had... a population
that was war weary.

I was still very, very much
a committed Republican.

The British Government
was still a problem

and their presence and their Army
in Ireland was still a problem.

But as far back as 1981,

people in leadership positions

were beginning to think this armed
struggle tactic isn't going to work.


There was always a hard core
of Republicans who held out

and said, "Well, we're supporting
the struggle anyway."

But there was a realisation,
there was people beginning to think,

"I'm not so sure about it any more.

"It's not going to achieve

There was a momentum building
that politics would be

a far better way to bring about
a united Ireland.

So it seemed to me

that it was a clear choice

between armed struggle

and peace.

It was as pure and as simple as that
for me.

And I went for the peace.
I went for peace.



[ARCHIVE]: After 25 years of violence,
the IRA has announced a ceasefire

which will start at midnight


[JEREMY PAXMAN]: The Republican
movement hopes that it can now

achieve by negotiation what it
couldn't get by the gun.

But is it truly the beginning
of the end of the war here?

We offer to the loved ones
of all innocent victims

over the past 25 years,

abject and true remorse.

The Combined Loyalist Military
Command will universally cease

all operational hostilities
as from 12 midnight.

Any ceasefires that happened,
I was never over... overconfident

that it would lead
to a permanent ceasefire.

I was always hopeful,
but not over-hopeful

cos I knew that something
would happen.

A lot of these people
in the paramilitaries, I mean,

they're psychopaths and they enjoy
killing for killing's sake, and you

take that away from them, what have
they got? You know what I mean?

They live for killing
and all that madness.

Seven days after the Loyalist
paramilitary ceasefire,

Northern Ireland is at peace.

This means we can move carefully
towards the beginning of dialogue

between Sinn Fein
and the Government.

Tomorrow morning's front pages.

"Major agrees to talks with Sinn
Fein" in the Telegraph.

"Major pledge of peace talks
by Christmas" in The Times.

"Major paves way for start
of talks with Sinn Fein"

in the Financial Times

and The Sun has more news of, er,
Prince Charles's private life.

I just felt... it made us very

compromising with the IRA.

Like, come on, you know,
this is not standing stronger.


I thought they hated us Protestants.

They hated us being there.

They hated everything about us.

What happened on the Shankill
Road bombing was just horrific.

Is that not... carry forward?

You know, just...

[MURMURS]: I don't know.

You know, you can't try to destroy
a country

and then turn around and go,

"Oh, by the way,
we are the people for peace."

[ARCHIVE]: At the rally, a heckler
called out, "Bring back the IRA."

They haven't gone away, you know.


Are Sinn Fein and the IRA
very linked to you?

Absolutely. One and the same.

They are not different.
One and the same.

Say one,
you might as well say the other.



If Gerry Adams was expecting
a hero's welcome after his visit

to the United States, he would
have been sorely disappointed.

Up to 40 protesters were waiting
for him.

Amongst those there was

Alan McBride, who lost his wife
in the Shankill bomb.

He justified the existence of the
Provos, of Sinn Fein, of the IRA,

claiming that they were fighting
for a just and lasting peace.

Well, I'm sorry, but I don't see
how my wife's murder helped

IRA-Sinn Fein achieve peace.

It's hypocrisy.
Gerry Adams is a hypocrite.

Whoever Gerry Adams was,
I just wanted to confront him.

I just wanted him to know
what he'd done

and the hurt that he'd caused.

Then I started writing to him.

"This week, Mr Adams,

"I should have been celebrating

"my wife's birthday.

"Instead, I find myself..."

I wrote to him a good few times.

And I sent him photographs
of Sharon.

I just wanted him to know
who she was.

You know, I didn't want her to be a
number, you know,

just whatever it was,
3,700-odd people murdered.

There's a Mr McBride on the line.
Hello, sir.

- [PHONE]: Hello. - Hello. How are you doing?
- Hello.

[ALAN]: And I remember phoning in to a
telephone phone-in thing

that he was on and I basically just

asked him a question about the
Shankill bomb.

[PHONE]: But anyhow, I'll go ahead
with my question.

That's good, Mr McBride.

[ALAN]: You can actually see him
physically take a breath

before he answered me.

[PHONE]: ...Sinn Fein's claims to be
working towards a lasting peace?

Sinn Fein accepts and realises

that all of these actions diminish

every single one of us
and we want an end to it.

We, ourselves, have seen
our children killed

and we want to see it all ended.

[HOST]: You're a victim,
are you Alan McBride?

- [PHONE]: I am indeed.
- From the Shankill? - Yes.

I can only attempt to comprehend

the grief
that you have been going through.

- You have no idea what it's like, Adams.
- Well, I think I can try to.

You and I and everyone else
in this situation, all the people

who have buried wives and husbands
and children,

let us all move forward towards a
peaceful situation in our country.

[HOST]: All right. Listen, thank you
very much for that. Sorry, so many

of you want to get through,

I remember... You know what I
remember about that?

I remember being cut-off
and being raging

by Talkback, that they cut me off
and they let him have the last word.

You know, I'd been phoning Sinn Fein
offices for weeks before this

and never got through to him.

Always telling me he wasn't...
he was busy or he was

out of the office or he, you know?
And then I got through to him.

- [CREW]: Was that the first time you had spoken to him?
- Yeah.

Yeah, and then Talkback cut me off
because it's coming up to the news.

I mean, feckin' news. The news
can wait two minutes.

I mean, I was wanting to ask
this man questions.

And I'm actually... I'm actually...
I'm actually getting annoyed

as I watched it
and as I think about it and I see

his reaction back then.


I just... I just remember where I
was, I just remember who I was.

I remember the anger that I had.

I mean, it was difficult

in those early days,
it was just difficult.


of Northern Ireland has been written

in the blood of its children
and their parents.

The ceasefire turned the page
on that history.

It must not be allowed to turn back.


Let it be our dream.

And it's a dream that we will
achieve with the powerful assistance

of the President
and his administration.

That dream is that there will be
no killing in our streets.

Thank you, Mr President.


"Blessed are the peacemakers

"for they shall inherit the Earth."

Merry Christmas
and God bless you all.


The main feeling about all of that
was, can it possibly be real?

[ARCHIVE]: When the talks began,
there was a quiet determination

to make them work.

[ARCHIVE]: The British and Irish

Nationalists, Unionists,

all round the same
negotiating table.

There was quite a few false dawns,

and, you know, there was a built-in
realism, a built-in pessimism.

And then you had...

...you had the bombing
at Canary Wharf.


[ARCHIVE]: The IRA's decision to end
the ceasefire has put

the whole peace process
in serious jeopardy.

The Government's message continues
to be... no ceasefire, no talks.


[ARCHIVE]: The explosion ripped
through the centre of Manchester,

injuring around 200 people.

So there were still terrible things
going on.

And that's why it was so stop-start.

That's why a lot of people
weren't happy.


[ARCHIVE]: The mood is unruly and
defiant, with Loyalists causing

disruption and trouble.

[PATRICK KIELTY]: The expectations
were very low.

And yet you did have that sense

that the right people
who could make a deal were there.


Terrorism, Republican or so-called

is contemptible and unacceptable.

I am prepared to meet Sinn Fein

provided events on the ground

do not make that impossible.

An historic agreement for peace

in Northern Ireland has been reached
within the past few minutes.

We can see pictures now from
Stormont, where the leaders

of the eight parties,
together with the Prime Ministers

of the United Kingdom
and the Republic of Ireland,

are announcing details of an
agreement which is intended to end

nearly 30 years of conflict

and which have cost
more than 3,000 lives.

I can show you the Agreement itself.
I've just been handed this copy.

This Agreement will be going
to every house in Northern Ireland

so the people can judge
for themselves

whether this is an agreement
which in the referendum

they will give their crucial
and essential assent to.

[CREW]: Do you remember the night
that they announced it?


Yeah. I remember I was, um, I was
filming a TV show at Shepperton,

Shepperton Studios. I was working
in England, had gone over to work.



But no-one...

...in London was really...

You know, "Oh, that's nice."

And you're going,
"Yeah, it's lovely."

Nobody cared.

And they didn't really see
this place

as in any way relevant
to their lives.


OK, through our safe,
we have tonight's jackpot game.

Here we go, guys.


I remember going to my dressing room

and I just... I was crying.

I didn't want to let anybody else
know I was crying.

I wasn't crying cos I was happy.

I was crying because of...

...of what was lost.

Now, looking back on it all,
I realise that...

...all of that loss...

...brought people to a place where
they HAD to make the peace.

But I couldn't see THAT at the time.

But loss is still loss, you know?

The Agreement proposes changes
in the Irish Constitution

and in British constitutional law
to enshrine the principle

that it is the people of
Northern Ireland who will decide,

democratically, their own future.

If this Agreement is approved
in referendums North and South,

it offers the chance
for a better future.

[ARCHIVE]: For the first time since
the Agreement was approved,

the leader of Unionism joined
forces for a "Yes"

with the leader of Nationalism.

The details of this Agreement

are really pretty amazing,
aren't they?

They're carefully balanced to give
every party there something

that they can use now
to sell this to their followers.

Because all the political leaders
will find hardliners

in their own causes who will say,
"You have sold out, you should

"have got us
a better deal than this."

You're a traitor, you're a traitor.

But there is something carefully
balanced there for everybody,

something for the Ulster Unionists,
something for Sinn Fein.

You know, I wasn't totally
for the peace process.

I was sceptical.

The Republican movement was my life.

You know, the struggle was my life.


[ARCHIVE]: The agreement states all
paramilitary groups

will have to decommission
illegal arms.

It's like putting your hands up.

That's the way I was feeling.

[CREW]: Like surrender?

It's like a surrender, you know,

But the more you sort of... you sort
of maybe talk to other Republicans

and stuff like that there,

you go away and you think,
"Maybe this IS the way forward."

The war, the bombings and the
shooting stops.

But the fighting still goes on,
but in a different approach.

You know? We'll still be fighting
for a united Ireland.

You're prepared to accept a halfway
house to a united Ireland.

The answer tomorrow from the people
of Northern Ireland will be...

Sharing together.

...no to Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein.

- Sharing space.
- No surrender to the enemies of Ulster.

Yes to a future together.

[ARCHIVE]: The "No" camp
pushing its message hard.

The time has come

for the ordinary man in Ulster

to give his verdict

on this pernicious Agreement.

Ulster needs to say "No"

and "No surrender"!


[ARCHIVE]: The people were asked quite
simply to say "Yes" or "No"

to the peace accord,

and they came out
in record numbers.

The turnout is estimated
to be a massive 80 to 81%.

We'll bring you the result
in a special programme

later this afternoon.

We were coming from our holidays.

We had a caravan, towing caravan.

And it came on the radio.

And I remember I was driving,
I got out

and just...

...busted into tears

and cried uncontrollably.




I just fucking erupted, like...

...much to the dismay of my children,
like, who probably thought,

"Now Daddy has lost his fucking mind

"We suspected he was sort
of on the edge,

"but now he's finally flipped."

There was hope,
finally, there was hope.


I do not have all the answers.

But I know that the more people
that learn that talking's better

than shooting, that can only
be a good thing.

That can only be a positive thing.

[ARCHIVE]: On this extraordinary

people took time off to witness
history being made.

Yes, 71%.


I just remember that day

just thinking, "Oh, my God,

"there's an end coming to this,

"we've finally got to somewhere."

And let me tell you the shouting
and the cheering

and the yo-hoing
that was going on,

and everybody beeping their horns.


There was like this
feeling of euphoria.



[ARCHIVE]: "Yes" campaigners taunted
the Unionists

who had spearheaded the "No"

but the DUP leader, Ian Paisley,

insisted the majority of Unionists
were on his side.


I mean, I honestly, I just...

I wouldn't...
I wasn't in favour of it.

You know? No.



It's just, to me it's
just a horrible time.

It was... it WAS a horrible time,
you know,

and it was a fearful time

because you didn't know
what was going to happen.


The final batch of paramilitary
prisoners has been released

from the Maze Prison as part
of the Good Friday Peace Agreement.

They include Loyalist gunmen
involved in the murder

of seven people in a pub
at Greysteel.

I just felt like

letting prisoners out

who had caused so much harm and hurt

and pain and loss, you know,

to... to... to... to do what?

You know, run the streets again?

Terrorise people again?

I mean,
it can't be peace at any cost.

You know?

Because then it's not really peace.


[ARCHIVE]: 46 IRA prisoners were

including Sean Kelly.

He was one of two men who placed
a bomb in a fish shop

on the Shankill Road in Belfast.

Like many of the other mass
murderers to be freed early,

he served only a fraction
of his life sentence.

[INTERVIEWER]: What's weird for you,
I guess, is that Sean Kelly

is living in your town.
I mean, you could bump into him.

- I have done.
- Have you?

Yeah, yeah, several times.


Yeah, um...


It has never been a pleasant
experience, to be honest with you.

And when I've seen him,
I've just turned and walked away.

Um, and I can remember the first
time it happened.

It was in, when the new Asda

opened at Yorkgate,

er, George at Asda.

And there he was

and I just...

...turned and walked away.

And I can remember thinking later...

...being ashamed of myself
for walking away.

Because I didn't do anything.

My wife was murdered by this guy,

and it was him that should
have been walking away.

And I suppose it was just the fact
that that he could live a life,

he could live an ordinary life.

And, of course, I mean of course
he's going to live an ordinary life.

He's released from prison and I
voted in the Good Friday Agreement.

I allowed him to be out of prison,
you know,

I voted yes.

And I knew that he was getting
his liberty.

And so all of those things
were going through my head.

All of those things were going
through my head.


In spite of the fact that

these people were released from
prison early...

...we need to give our children
a fighting chance

of making a life
for themselves here

and if we don't, um,

we're just subjecting this society
for more of the same.

And I didn't want any other
family to go through any of that.


Thank you.

Thank you.

Thank you.

I really only have two points
to make today.

The first is

you have come a long
way since 1995

when I was here the last time.


The second point I want to make
to you is that while you have come

a very long way,

you and I know that this peace
process is not complete.

People on both sides still
have concerns

and fears

and frustration.


[ARCHIVE]: All summer, it's gone on,

according to the Belfast
police commander,

the most intense and sustained
disturbances in 20 years.


[ARCHIVE]: The peace holds,

but the old hatreds
are never far away.

I remember going to a conference

and it said, "Peace is tough."

And I remember thinking,
"Peace is tough?"

Because to me, sure peace
should be easy.

All right, there? What's the craic?

Dead on now.

It was only that that point in time
around 2001,

that I began to think about my story
in the context of forgiveness.

Call me naive, call me whatever.

But it's worked for me.

In the weeks and months
that followed Bloody Sunday,

everybody was angry.

I was at primary school.

And there was an Army lookout post

positioned at the bottom
of the school playground.

And as I ran past it, I was
about ten feet away from it...

...a soldier fired a rubber bullet.

It hit me here in the bridge
of the nose.


I woke up in the ambulance.

I remember me daddy was holding me
hand and he kept saying,

"You'll be all right, Richard.
You'll be OK."

And then that was me,
I went to hospital.

I thought it was the bandages...

...that were preventing me from
seeing, you know,

the bandages on my eyes.

But it was about a month
after I was shot...

...I was out at home and my brother
Noel said to me,

"Do you know what has happened?"

And I says,
"Yes, I knew I was shot."

He said, "Do you know what damage
was done?" And I said, "No."

And that's when he told me,

that I'd be blind for the
rest of my life.

And to be honest, I took
it in my stride that day.

Until I went to bed that night

and when I was in bed
that night, I cried.

And I cried because I realised
for the first time...

...that I was never going to see
me mammy and daddy again.

- [ARCHIVE]: I was hit with a rubber bullet.
- How did it happen?

I was coming up from school,
up a field beside the school.

I got 54 stitches in the face.

And I was only in a hospital
for two weeks.

He was just standing beside
the gunman.

When I was shot there was a...
the gunman was about, er...

Just from here to...

I used to think,

"There's no way that a soldier set
out to blind me."

When I found out his name

I wrote to him,

said, "I would love to meet you

You know, when I did meet him
it was...

...it was...

...it was kind of nerve-racking,
you know.

And, um...

You know...

When me and Charles got talking
I said to him...

"Look, Charles,

"I'm not here to be confrontational.

"I'm here to let you know
that I forgive you."

And Charles thanked me for that

and he said, "Well, Richard...

"...you know...

"...when I made the decision to fire
the rubber bullet I felt

"I made it for the right reasons."

He said that he felt justified.

And that he never felt guilty.


...I remember thinking, "This is not
how I wanted it to be."

I wanted it just to be a bit
more sort of

I suppose like Mills & Boon's,
you know,

more nicer than this

and I didn't think
it was achieving what...

...I envisaged.

But I...

...you know...

...I accepted it.

If we want reconciliation,

you can't meet the person

that you would like to meet.

You've got to meet them
for who they are.

Yes, Charles, all right?


Beautiful day, the sun is shining.

I say the sun always change
when you're here, Charles.

Well, that's true, that's true.

I could nail Charles

to a cross...

...and it's not going to make
one difference to my life.

It's not going to give me
back my eyesight

and it's not going to make me
any happier.

I appreciate that, it's great.

You're always very good like that.


...we've got to try and see each
other at least once a year.

That's it, aye.

But what has made me happy...

...is beginning to try and find a way

that me and Charles
could become friends.

- Yeah, all right, here we go.
- Right.

This is us now walking on to the
onto the school football pitch.


So this is the area here
where I was when I was shot.

And Charles would have been down...

- Down there.
- ...the sangar down there somewhere, yeah.

We're as close
as we're going to get

to where you and I first met.

Yes, indeed.


Not going to get any closer
than that.

- So, but...
- Yeah.

- Yeah.
- Yeah.

God, it's some craic.

[CREW]: Is it difficult for you,
Charles, coming to this spot or not?

No, not at all.
No, not in the slightest.

No, no.

It's where, you know,
it's where it happened

and that's a fact
and, er, um, that's the reality.

Um, yeah,

not difficult at all.




- Charles, all right?
- Yeah, yeah. Absolutely fine.


[CHARLES]: The police station was in
one of the toughest areas.

Some of the youths had got hold
of a scaffolding pole

and they were actually trying to
sort of skewer the soldier inside.

I then fired a rubber bullet
at... at them.

Um, as I fired it,

er, Richard came straight
across in front.

The sadness and the regret
and wishing I had not done it,

that stayed with me for years.

But the reason I didn't apologise...

...was if I am saying sorry,
I therefore accept guilt

that I was... my intention
was to cause a terrible trauma,

which it never was,

therefore, there's no point
in saying sorry.

And, um, the, um...

[CREW]: It's quite a position.

Yeah, but then, then I thought,
you know, OK, um,

look at it another way, say sorry.

So I did.

I think the bottom line
is incredibly simple.

Out of something
that was absolutely horrific,

um, goodness has come.

But then, as I've said before
and I'll say it any time,

Richard is a truly amazing man
in my book.

- [CREW]: Do you want to walk towards the car?
- Yeah.

Yeah, you're going the wrong way.

- We'll walk towards the car, Charles?
- Yeah, yeah. - Yeah.

The blind leading the blind here
today, Charles, come on!


You know, some people said to me

that I shouldn't have met him

until he apologised.

If I had have done that...

...then me and Charles' journey
would have never begun.

But finding out who he was
does change everything.

He's no longer a soldier.

He's a human being.

He's a father.

He's a grandfather.

You know, it makes a person
very real.

And I think that's a good thing.

Peace is tough.

But we've got to keep working at it.

You never know where it's going
to lead to.

I just feel really angry
that so many people...

...in this part of Ireland...

...had to suffer
the shit that they did...

...should it be Catholic, Protestant,

policemen, soldiers,

everything in between.

And I'm not a victim of
The Troubles.

I survived the fucking Troubles
and I survived all the shite

that was going with it.

We all have it in us for a wee bit
of change

and some have it in us for a
big bit of change.

And it's astonishing
what you can learn

when you just open your ears
and you drop the...

...drop the guard a wee bit and...

...let the old style of thinking go.

When I think about it, there's
just been so much

and I think sometimes you just
need to take a step back

and think about all the twists
and turns, you know?


And now I'm a grandfather.


What's she looking at?

Zoe turned 30 last year.

Sharon was killed when she was 29.

And I think I realised
for the first time

just how young Sharon
was when she was killed.


OK, babe?

But it would do nobody any good

if I was to hold on to the hurt

and the pain and the anger.


Look at the ducks.

What's the duck do? Quack, quack.

And, you know, I desperately want

the latter years of my life...

...you know,
to be better than the former years.


Growing up in a divided society,

growing up with hostility,
growing up

with a fear that
your father could be shot dead.


Growing up that, you know,
there are certain roads

that you can't walk down
because you might be attacked.

Who wants to live like that,
you know?



To watch exclusive interviews
about the making of this series,

and follow the links
to the Open University.