In This Episode – Mairtin O’Muilleoir spent four decades covering the highs and lows of life and business in Belfast, Ireland. As a journalist, politician, and tireless promoter, Mairtin has poured his heart and soul into bringing the citizens of Belfast together and bringing the world to Belfast.

Highlights from Mairtin:

  • I come from a Catholic community, and growing up, it was very hard to get employment; there was a lot of discrimination. When my father went to the local foundry, he was a sheet metal worker to get work in the fifties. They stopped him at the gate and said, we don’t employ Catholics. 
  • The one voice that was always raised for peace, and for justice inequality, was the voice of Irish America. 
  • When I was a Belfast City Council member, I didn’t see any way out of the dark tunnel of violence and counter violence that we were in until some of the pivotal players from America, including Bill Clinton, and George Mitchell brought the parties together to make peace. 
  • When I was on the Belfast City Council, I wore a flak jacket every day to go to work. In the mornings I would go out, I would look under the car, I would then jump on the back bumper of the car. I was afraid there would be a bomb under the car. I would then drive the car down the block, turn the car around, then I would put the children in to go to school. A favorite way to assassinate people was when they left the house in the morning. I wanted to be as careful as possible about my routine.
  • Compromise is necessary for peace, and some of the most effective peacemakers are those who have suffered greatly.
  • Respect is crucial in addressing societal issues and promoting peace. It is intangible but necessary.
  • Small business owners play a vital role in building and sustaining communities, creating jobs, and promoting social programs.
  • The LGBTQ+ pride parade is the biggest parade in Belfast, emphasizing the need for inclusivity and creating space for everyone.
  • Journalism is a bedrock of democracy and plays a crucial role in holding governments and institutions accountable, fighting disinformation, and maintaining peace.
  • A new model for journalism is needed, such as becoming a social enterprise or a not-for-profit organization, which can go to government agencies, philanthropic organizations, and even Irish American universities for funding and support.