How a school produced extraordinary Irishmen

THE ROMAN Catholics of Northern Ireland have very little to thank British governments for, except a piece of legislation, which would help empower a generation to speak out against discrimination of Catholics in Ulster.

In 1947 a British Act of Parliament granted free secondary education to Northern Irish children for the first time. Those born into working class and poverty stricken areas now had hope, and among the first generation to benefit from this legislation were Seamus Heaney, John Hume, Phil Coulter, Paul Brady, Bishop Edward Daly, former ambassador James Sharkey, and Brian Friel.

All were educated in the influential Roman Catholic school, St Columb’s in Co Derry. The story of these man and their school, will be told in the new film, The Boys of St Columb’s, from the Maccana Teoranta production company.

The Boys of St Columb’s is directed by Tom Collins (Kings ) and narrated by Stephen Rea. It will feature interviews with Paul Brady, John Hume, etc, look at how the new education legislation affected them, and how St Columb’s helped produced this extraordinary generation of Irishmen.

The Boys of St Columb’s will be shown at the Town Hall Theatre as part of the Galway Film Fleadh tomorrow at 2.30pm. Paul Brady and James Sharkey will attend the screening.

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