BernieBernadette Devlin was a leader of the radical student organisation People’s Democracy in Belfast in 1968 and 1969. A riveting speaker and presence, she became Britain’s youngest elected female MP at 21 in 1969. Her maiden speech was a stinging attack on the British in Ireland; and when Home Secretary Reginald Maudling claimed in early 1972 that the British Army had fired in self-defence on Bloody Sunday she strode across the House of Commons and punched him.

Veteran Irish film-maker Lelia Doolan, a significant mover and shaker herself, worked for ten years to produce a rousing and thorough picture of this woman who was once recognisable throughout the Western world as the embodiment of politicised youth in revolt.

Bernadette has been through imprisonment, a near-miss assassination attempt and years of struggle within and on behalf of the republican and socialist cause. She remains a committed activist and organiser.

Doolan builds the film around her own interviews with an often wry, but enduringly passionate, Devlin. The wealth of archival footage should convince any newcomer to her remarkable story that she was once a riveting fixture on the nightly news and an unstoppable force for change.

7pm, Tuesday, May 6

WEA, 59 Gloucester St

Christchurch

 

Some useful reading:

Bernadette’s maiden speech in British parliament, July 1969: http://theirishrevolution.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/bernadette-devlin-maiden-speech-at-westminster-parliament-house-of-commons-april-22-1969/

Bernadette on the ‘peace process’ (2000): http://theirishrevolution.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/bernadette-mcaliskey-on-the-peace-process-2000-speech/

 

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