Renowned BBC journalist Fergal Keane paid a visit to Ballycastle recently as part of the North East Peace III Community Integration Project.
Invited to the area by the Causeway Coast Preace Group, Fergal Keane addressed around 200 people at the Marine Hotel.
Mr Keane, who has covered conflicts in South Africa, Northern Ireland, Rwanda and most recently Sri Lanka, presented a “Reflection on Building the Peace: Work, Courage and Hope.”
He began by saying: “I remain an optimist, despite having witnessed many unpleasant scenes.”
He went on to praise the work of “the huge number of people” engaged in the peace process, adding: “You took risks and didn’t follow the words of hate-filled men.
“Enough of you did it to lay the foundations of peace, on which the politicians could build.”
In a fascinating talk, Mr Keane referred to the many dark moments he had witnessed as a BBC war correspondent but also to the indomitable spirit of hope that he had encountered from many who had suffered terrible cruelty in their lives.
“When I see such an example of courage that makes me an optimist.”
Closing proceedings, Eleanor Duff, Chairperson of the Causeway Coast Peace Group, thanked the North East Peace III Partnership for making the event possible through EU funding. Her vote of thanks to the distinguished guest brought the audience to their feet in a prolonged standing ovation for his memorable, moving and inspiring address.