Northern Ireland

Patrick Kielty speaks of 'burying trauma' of father's 1988 murder

Patrick Kielty on the Tommy Tiernan Show. Picture from RTÉ
Patrick Kielty on the Tommy Tiernan Show. Picture from RTÉ

PATRICK Kielty has spoken of how he "buried" the trauma of his father's murder by loyalist paramilitaries.

The comedian was 16 years old when his father Jack was shot dead by the UFF in January 1988.

A leading figure in Down GAA circles, the 45-year-old father of three was gunned down at his building firm's offices in Dundrum Co Down.

Speaking on RTE's Tommy Tiernan Show, Kielty opened up about how he dealt with the grief and loss of his dad.

"Nothing’s really black or white on these things. I think that I thought I was dealing with it," he said.

"And I genuinely thought that I had. I think when you’re 16 and you've men in changing rooms telling you that you are men, you think you’re fully formed.

"You were living in a society and part of a community that was telling you ‘You are men, and you need to look after your mother.’"

The 51-year-old how the Troubles Patrick had largely desensitised people to violence.

"Whenever he was killed, it wasn’t normal, I know that now – but at that time, it wasn’t special," he said.

"So the one thing I didn't want to do was, I didn’t want to make a big deal of that.

"Now when I look at my boys, I have one who is six and one who is four. If I put 10 years on my eldest fella and throw that into his lap, you wouldn’t dream of it."

He said he had "buried" his trauma.

"But at the time, I thought I was OK," he said.

"I think that what’s happened over a period of time is that the stuff you deal with, when it comes to grief and trauma, when it comes to forgetting about it, it gets bad press.

"Sometimes you have to bury it and keep the wheels moving and put one foot in front of the other."

He said recent work on a series of documentaries about the north had brought up some difficult feelings.

"There was stuff coming out that was way more difficult than I thought – I found it difficult," he said.

Kielty later tweeted his thanks to the show's host for having him as a guest. "For the kindness, the understanding and making hard things easier," he said.

"To everyone who watched, thanks for all your messages. Really means a lot. Here’s to the future."