UK news Why I, as a child of the Good Friday Agreement generation, felt compelled to interview Monica McWilliams last news

PremierLeague-News.Com - As a young girl growing up in post-conflict Northern Ireland, I knew all about politicians such as Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley — but I had never heard of Monica McWilliams.

UK news Why I, as a child of the Good Friday Agreement generation, felt compelled to interview Monica McWilliams last news

PremierLeague-News.Com - As a young girl growing up in post-conflict Northern Ireland, I knew all about politicians such as Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley — but I had never heard of Monica McWilliams.

UK news Why I, as a child of the Good Friday Agreement generation, felt compelled to interview Monica McWilliams last news
23 November 2022 - 13:30

PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! "As a young girl growing up in post-conflict Northern Ireland, I knew all about politicians such as Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley — but I had never heard of Monica McWilliams. I was born in 2002, four years after the Good Friday Agreement and six years after the IRA ceasefire.I grew up in a safer Northern Ireland than my parents and grandparents.One thing my mum constantly preached to me was to admire Mr McGuinness’ and Mr Paisley’s efforts to ensure peace in this country.She taught me about the strength they had to set aside their differences for the greater good of Northern Ireland and its people.I learned to admire many other strong men that fought for peace in Northern Ireland, including John Hume and David Trimble.I loved learning about the Troubles. I remember wanting to hear stories from my parents’ youth.They all seem so surreal, they still do — soldiers patrolling the streets, town closing at 7pm, not being able to use the school football pitch because it had been bombed.But one thing that was constantly left out of the conversation was the work of women in Northern Ireland.I was 16 when my teacher told the class to watch a documentary called Wave Goodbye to Dinosaurs.It followed the story of the Women’s Coalition in Northern Ireland — a party that brought women from all sides of the community together to help find an end to the Troubles.They played an integral role in the peace negations but faced blunt sexism along the way — something the documentary didn’t shy away from. Yet this didn’t phase the women.When the opportunity to interview someone for a BelTel podcast arose, the Women’s Coalition’s co-founder Monica McWilliams, was top of my list. She later told me she agreed to it because she felt it was important to help young women at the beginning of their careers.Monica is remarkably humble. It's almost like she doesn’t realise how iconic she is. I think this is perfectly summed up with her nonchalant attitude when she recalled declining an invitation to Hilary Clinton’s garden party because she was just too tired that week to fly to America again. I’m not sure why she is so humble, maybe it is just the way she was raised. “My mother used to say self-praise is no praise, girl,” she said.

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. “I'm very proud of the women in the Coalition,” she said. “I sit and remember those women making two or three hour bus journeys to come to meetings and getting on those buses late at night to go home even when we had young children, we had childcare at every meeting.“And driving all over the country on Saturday morning to do public meetings so we could get out the story and keep the momentum so that people in little villages all across Northern Ireland could hear what we were saying and doing, and I was full of admiration.“For the women who were struggling, you know, we have our domestic responsibilities at home.“Some had full-time jobs and yet they were prepared to give up their weekends to do this. I wanted those women to be written back into history.”One thing is for sure, Monica never went into politics wanting praise. “None of us ever did it for the recognition. We did it because we had a vision of where we wanted Northern Ireland to be,” she said. Monica and the other members of the Women’s Coalition faced vile discrimination during the peace talks, but they refused to let that deter them. “I'm not running away from the fact that it was humiliating at the time,” she recalled. “But, you also need to put it in a space where people were getting murdered and killed and very seriously injured.“And we were getting psychologically injured, if you want to put it that way, the abuse was abuse but there was a bigger picture that you had to focus on.”Despite leaving politics in Northern Ireland, Monica continues to impact the lives of thousands across the world. “I go to Colombia or the Middle East or where I'm going on Saturday, to the Syrian border, again — as I've done for 11 years and since the start of that war,” she said. In Northern Ireland she has worked on domestic violence policies. “[It] is really my life's work in terms of research and reports and policymaking and legislation,” she said. I am not an anomaly. Many young people in Northern Ireland admire heroes of the Troubles but know nothing about Monica or the Women’s Coalition. Post-conflict babies are growing up and starting to leave a mark on society but in Northern Ireland — a place overshadowed by the fears and opinions of the past — can it truly develop if we don’t know who to thank for ending the conflict? I hope the BelTel podcast can help a young audience learn about the importance of our shared past. " , "isAccessibleForFree": "False", "hasPart": { "@type": "WebPageElement", "isAccessibleForFree": "False","cssSelector": "#flip-pay"} }

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