Patrick Kielty in tears over death of father
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As Northern Ireland marks its 100th anniversary, comedian and TV presenter Patrick Kielty headed back to his homeland to explore what the future may hold for the country. With violent protests emerging in Northern Ireland following feelings of resentment and protest at the Irish Sea border between the rest of the UK after Brexit, Patrick delved into the history of the Troubles which existed prior to the Good Friday Agreement of the Nineties and its devastating impact on his and so many families like his who lost loved ones. But when discussing his father’s death and the violent scenes which he has seen emerge nowadays, Patrick struggled to keep his composure in the BBC film.
Patrick’s father Jack was shot dead in January 1988 at the age of 44 by loyalist paramilitary soldiers.
Discussing the incident upon his return to his home town, Patrick said in his narration of the BBC documentary: “I’m on my way to the village of Dundrum, in the southeast corner or Northern Ireland. For me, it’s home.
“But it’s also the place where 33 years ago my dad was murdered.”
Speaking to the camera, he continued: “When I bring the kids here and you’re in the mountains and you’ve got the biking trails and you see the beaches, you know, I remember when I first brought the wife here and she said ‘This is gorgeous’.”
Referring to his father, Patrick went on: “My dad owned a building firm here.
“He was working in certain parts of Belfast and he had to pay protection money in those days, you know, (to) the paramilitaries.
“He decided that he wasn’t gonna pay and he went to the police which made him a target.”
Patrick added: “My dad wasn’t involved in politics, he wasn’t involved in any paramilitaries, he was just a builder.
“A lot of people actually feel that their loved ones died for something: fighting for Ireland or defending Ulster or keeping the peace. You know, my dad, he died for nothing.”
The documentary then cut to Patrick exploring his home town and taking in the sights as he continued to reminisce: “When you get used to people not being around it gets hard to miss them,
“But I miss the good times, I miss all the good times that we had. It was the fun, it was the unpredictability of it all, was a good craic you know.”
A clip of Patrick’s father’s funeral then played on-screen, showing the young comedian as a pallbearer carrying his dad’s coffin.
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“I know the loss of not being here has affected me but there is no one here in Northern Ireland who doesn’t have a story like that, directly or indirectly,” Patrick said.
“There are so many people here that, they’re still a little bit broken, there’s still part of me broken.
“And so when you see a kid throw a petrol bomb on the streets of Belfast, you think how’s that been allowed to happen.”
As the emotions began to boil over, the former Love Island host continued: “It makes me sad and it makes me angry because we signed a peace agreement and now we’re back trying to square a circle that we’d already found the answer to.
“People here shouldn’t have to do this twice,” he added, wiping away tears.
As Patrick tried to regain his composure he said to the crew off-camera: “I need to get myself cleaned up here.”
Patrick Kielty: One Hundreds Years of Union is available to stream on BBC iPlayer now.
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