Peter Taylor: “Meeting Sean again was a sad and salutary experience.”



Well worth reading Peter Taylor’s own thoughts on his forthcoming film, particularly in talking to Sean McKinley, the man he met as a young boy in 1974:

And what about Sean McKinley, the little boy with the initials IRA tattooed on the back of his hand? We finally found him after wearing out much shoe leather on the streets of west Belfast. I got a shock when the once fresh-faced little boy of 12 opened the door to my knock. He was now 52 and looked many years older. His hand still bore the initials IRA.

Sean had indeed “fought for his country” and as a result had spent many years in the Maze prison for the murder of a British soldier. I asked him what he would say to any little boy who said today what he had said 40 years ago about fighting and dying for Ireland.

“I would advise him to forget it, because I know a lot of people who died, and they thought they were fighting and dying for their country, but it never worked out that way. It never worked out.”

Meeting Sean again was a sad and salutary experience.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty