The 2020 Una O’Higgins O’Malley Webinar

The Possibility of Reconciliation: People and Politics

Can healing divisions at personal and political level contribute to reconciliation and peacebuilding?
The Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation will host the 2020 Una O’Higgins O’Malley Webinar on Monday, 2nd November at 7.30pm.

Join peacebuilder Jo Berry for insights into her personal journey of reconciliation following the violent loss of her father, Sir Anthony Berry, who died in the IRA Brighton bombing of 1984.

Jo's difficult and painful journey of healing and reconciliation led her to meet Patrick Magee, the man who set off the bomb. In a series of face-to-face meetings, including one at the Glencree Centre in 2001, Jo came to understand and see the humanity in the man who killed her father. Since then, she has shared a platform with Patrick Magee over 300 times to inspire others to choose non-violent solutions to heal divisions. Jo founded “Building Bridges for Peace” and has dedicated her life to promoting peacebuilding and conflict resolution around the world.

Jo’s journey of reconciliation mirrors that of Glencree co-founder Una O’Higgins O’Malley whose father, Kevin O’Higgins, Minister for Justice in the first government after partition, was shot dead by anti-treaty forces in 1927. In reconciling with her loss, Una forgave her father’s murderer despite the claim he 'danced on his victim’s grave’ and continued to campaign for peace and reconciliation throughout her life.

Panel Discussion

Following her keynote address, Jo Berry will join in a panel discussion with: Senator Emer Currie; Community Worker and Peace Advocate Helen Henderson, who was recently appointed to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission; Muslim activist Fardus Sultan; victims and survivors advocate Alan McBride; moderated by journalist Joe Little.

Key Discussion Areas

Key areas the panel will explore include: the meaning of reconciliation and how we can live together without violence; how personal healing and relationship building contributes to reconciliation at personal and political levels; the impact of gender on healing, reconciliation and peacebuilding; how current efforts to support reconciliation on the island of Ireland and between Ireland and Britain can be strengthened over the next 5 years.

Speaker & Panel Profiles

Jo Berry

Peacebuilder & Founder of Building Bridges for Peace

Jo Berry is an inspiring speaker who works to resolve conflict around the world. Sixteen years after her father was killed by an IRA bomb, Jo first met with the man responsible, Pat Magee. This initial three-hour meeting led to them speaking on over three hundred occasions, on a shared platform around the world. Their unusual relationship has been told in the BBC documentary "Facing the Enemy", was featured in the film "Beyond Right and Wrong", and inspired "The Bomb", a play by Kevin Dyer.

Founder of the charity "Building Bridges for Peace", Jo advocates that unbounded empathy is the biggest weapon we have to end conflict. With political, religious and racial divides deepening as global and local events unfold, her words offer a message of hope and encourage us all to see the humanity in others.

Jo is frequently invited to address international conferences and seminars on themes of humanitarian aid, conflict resolution and human rights. She has worked in areas of conflict including Lebanon and Rwanda, Ireland, Palestine and Israel as well as throughout the U.K. She has spoken in venues throughout this country and joined panels and discussion forums on radio and TV.

Over the last years Jo has developed workshops in schools and with youth groups on topics of conflict transformation, storytelling, becoming positive changemakers, and challenging violent extremism. She is a TEDx speaker and a Visiting Fellow with the University of Nottingham (Research Primary Area in Rights and Justice). Jo is also trained as a Restorative Justice facilitator and is an advocate for Restorative Justice around the country.

Currently Jo is busy writing a book.

Helen Henderson

Peace Advocate, recently appointed to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Having spent most of her working life in the third sector, Helen has a background in global education, community development and peace building. Helen managed a peace centre based in Derry/Londonderry, St Columb’s Park House, developing programmes promoting non-violent activism, participative democracy and compassionate leadership. Helen has just been appointed as one of the Commissioners with the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. Previously she coordinated the Development Education work at Children in Crossfire, collaborating with educators in global justice and active citizenship.

Helens voluntary work over the last decade has included chairing a local campaign group raising awareness and action to prevent modern-day slavery and as an active committee member of a local community association. She is constantly inspired by ordinary people who make an extraordinary difference in our world. In her spare time she loves cold water swimming around the North coast and dabbling in a bit of poetry.

Emer Currie


Senator Emer Currie originally hails from Donaghmore in County Tyrone, where she lived with her parents, Austin Currie, who was a Northern Ireland Civil Rights leader and founder member of the SDLP, and Annita Currie. Their home was a focal point during the Troubles.

Emer moved to Dublin in 1991 and went on to study History & Politics at Queen’s University Belfast. She worked in advertising and marketing for 15 years and was a business director in the largest communications company in Ireland. She ran in the local election in Fingal County Council in 2019, the general election in 2020 and is now Senator and Seanad Spokesperson for Employment Affairs, Work/Life Balance and Northern Ireland.

Fardus Sultan

Muslim Activist

Originally from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a survivor of the Bosnian war, Fardus has been living in Ireland for almost 28 years. She is currently the Vice-Chair of women4women DLR; a Board Director of Southside Partnership; an Advisory member of LIFT Ireland; a founding member of Sisters of Faith for Peace; and, a Board member of Muslim Primary Education Board. She is also a community representative at Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s Special Policy Committee on Economic Development and Enterprise.

As for her professional capacity, Fardus is currently a PhD researcher and a Lecturer in Marketing, Cyberpsychology and Graphic Design and a holder of MSc in Cyberpsychology with BA in Politics and Arabic. Fardus is also a Co-founder and Managing Director of an IT consultancy and graphic design company www.farend.net.

Alan McBride

Victims & Survivors Advocate

Alan McBride lost his wife Sharon in the 1993 Shankill Bomb. He has been an avid campaigner for peace and reconciliation and currently co-ordinates the WAVE Trauma Centre in Belfast. Alan has a B.Sc. (first class hons) degree from the University of Ulster and an M.Phil in Reconciliation Studies from Trinity College Dublin.

Moderator - Joe Little

Writer and Journalist

A writer, Joe Little recently retired from RTÉ where he was Religious and Social Affairs Correspondent for 25 years. Joe first joined RTÉ TV Current Affairs in 1979 and his Emmy-nominated 1981 Today Tonight documentary, Victims of Violence in Northern Ireland, was followed by ground-breaking investigative reports. In 1986, he joined BBC Northern Ireland’s Spotlight programme. In 1988 he rejoined RTÉ where he presented and edited Morning Ireland before taking on his correspondent’s role. From 2009-2014 Joe served as the elected staff representative on RTÉ’s Board.

Born in Belfast, Joe attended St Teresa’s Primary School in Andersonstown. After moving to Limerick he attended Crescent College. Aged 17, he was guest speaker at a cross-community peace rally following Bloody Sunday. He read History and Politics at UCD. Joe is married to Mary and they have three adult children and two granddaughters.

Welcome by - Barbara Walshe

Chair, Glencree Centre

As Chair of the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, Barbara draws on years of experience in peacebuilding and restorative justice at national and international level. From her role as a Peace Observer and Envoy in the Israel/Palestine conflict to her ongoing work in the Northern Ireland conflict, Barbara has been a firm advocate for non-violent means of resolving conflict through dialogue. She is also strong voice for restorative justice with first-hand experience in this area within the prison community and with those harmed through sexual abuse.

Barbara researched and presented the RTE radio series, Picking Up the Pieces, which documented grassroots peacebuilding in an Irish post-conflict environment. Having previously worked for the Combat Poverty Agency, she has campaigned to include the voices of the marginalised. She contributes regularly to discussions and debates at local and national level and has represented the Irish peacebuilding community in Geneva, Normandy, Finland, Norway and Turkey to raise the profile and influence of Ireland and Glencree within this international community.

This Webinar is hosted by the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation and funded by
the Reconciliation Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

For queries, please contact: rsvp@glencree.ie.