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I don’t know what the centenary celebrations are going to look like. Many are saying it’s not to be celebrated and we also [politically] have a rudderless ship. You’ll have the historians talking about the history, but you’ll have our utterly useless, politicians arguing amongst each other.
The future? Northern Ireland is a place where everything has to be in three letters – UVF, IRA, UDR – but the game changers are NHS and DLA (Disability Living Allowance) which will keep it firmly in the UK.
‘There’s a dense, complicated history’
Bronagh Gallagher, 49, is a singer and actress from Derry. She has starred in films including The Commitments as well as theatre and television productions.
Bronagh Gallagher in 2018 in London. Photograph: Dave Benett/Getty Images for Run
I totally identify as an Irish woman. That has never changed. But there’s obviously a very dense, complicated history and I have a lot of friends who identify as Northern Irish and others who identify as British in Northern Ireland – and I completely respect that.
That’s where we should start, where we turn the page now. If you want to call it different tribes, let’s not let that separate us or stifle the potential that we all know is here.
Looking back on the 49 years I’ve been on this earth, a lot of it is of reflection on how we have moved forward, such as in embracing the LGBT community. I also think of making a film in Derry with my sister that embraced the entire community.
But I also look back on things with a heavy heart – at the fatalities in every part of the community that could have been avoided by more responsible people. I think “what a waste of human life” when the answers were there at the beginning, when we grew up in what was basically a post-colonial structure.