Northern Ireland

Singer stars in film celebrating Good Friday Agreement to be shown at summit

Cinemagic chief executive Joan Burney Keating with Brian Kennedy and Taylor Lally (FCDO)
Cinemagic chief executive Joan Burney Keating with Brian Kennedy and Taylor Lally (FCDO) Cinemagic chief executive Joan Burney Keating with Brian Kennedy and Taylor Lally (FCDO)

A musician from Co Down is starring in a short film celebrating the Good Friday Agreement that will be shown to thousands of young leaders at a global summit in Belfast.

Singer Taylor Lally, aged 25 and from Millisle, stars in the film So What If It Rains? alongside former Eurovision competitor for Ireland Brian Kennedy.

The short film takes its title from Kennedy’s 2001 hit of the same name and is being played to delegates from more than 190 countries attending the One Young World Summit this week.

As a member of the “ceasefire generation”, Lally said she hopes the new generation of young leaders travelling to Belfast for the summit will be inspired by how Northern Ireland has changed in her lifetime.

“I’m proud to be part of this FCDO-funded Cinemagic movie because it’s about respecting what happened and showing how Northern Ireland has moved on,” she said.

“It shows how far Northern Ireland has come that when I hear stories about the Troubles, it feels like a different world that I have no concept of.

“Most kids my age don’t really care about what happened because it has nothing to do with our day-to-day lives.

“I have this funny opinion that I feel like everybody my age who was born after the peace deal, so didn’t experience the Troubles, that we don’t deserve to be sectarian because the cycle of tit-for-tat violence was broken. It doesn’t happen anymore.”

Lally did say that the legacy of sectarianism has not been completely forgotten by young people in Northern Ireland.

“For some, that worry is still there,” she said.

“I had a drink with someone last night and he was saying how nervous he was about his Catholic girlfriend meeting his family for the first time because his mum is a Protestant ex-police officer.

“I was thinking, ‘How can you even worry about that?’. At secondary school, I remember there were some kids using hate speech passed down from generations, without even really understanding it.

“But I find that there’s way more people nowadays who just don’t care about it than people who do. I think it’s just going to die out.”

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said he was proud to have Northern Ireland in the eyes of the world for the “right reasons”.

“The Belfast/Good Friday Agreement remains a historic achievement, which brought peace and continues to transform Northern Ireland for the better,” he said.

“Now on the world stage for all the right reasons, I’m proud that Belfast will host and inspire the peacebuilders and global leaders of the future at the One Young World Summit.

“A quarter of century of peace has boosted our economy and made Northern Ireland a world-leading centre of the film industry. Our short film, made in partnership with Cinemagic, celebrates an entire generation that has grown up in the peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland that we see today.”

Taylor Lally stars in the film So What If It Rains? (FCOD)

Lally’s movie cameo with Kennedy in So What If It Rains? is being promoted across the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) global network, as part of the ongoing Belfast/Good Friday Agreement 25th anniversary celebrations.

Kennedy famously performed with Van Morrison for Bill Clinton’s first visit to Northern Ireland in 1995 and the pair also sang together to celebrate the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

The former Voice TV judge performed a cover of Westlife song You Raise Me Up at footballer George Best’s funeral in 2005.

As an up-and-coming musician, Lally said working on the film was also an opportunity to learn from Kennedy.

“To work with Brian Kennedy was an unbelievable experience and throughout filming I was thinking, ‘This guy is awesome. There’s so much I can learn from him’.

“Brian is 56 and his voice is, oh my gosh, his voice is just perfect. It is actually better than what it sounds like on his records.”

Lally graduated with a degree in songwriting from the Brighton Institute of Modern Music, whose alumni include acts such as The Kooks, George Ezra, Kate Walsh, Fontaines D.C. and Ella Mai.

So What If It Rains? was produced by award-winning charity Cinemagic, who have worked with stars including Liam Neeson, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Farrell, Saoirse Ronan, Dermot O’Leary, Julian Fellowes and Suranne Jones to give numerous youngsters a leg up into Northern Ireland’s world class film and TV industry.

It will be played to One Young World Summit delegates, who include activist Sir Bob Geldof, former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, ex-footballer Didier Drogba and Nobel Peace Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.