Mallie on Politics (Episode 7): The lives of Rev Ken Newell and his wife Val

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Former Presbyterian Moderator, Very Rev Dr Ken Newell and his wife Val


The subject for discussion this week is: The lives of Rev Ken Newell and his wife Val 

Northern Ireland has produced many great men and women all of whom have played a significant part in creating a peaceful society – none more so than Former Presbyterian Moderator, Very Rev Dr Ken Newell of Fitzroy Presbyterian Church, Belfast.

Through the efforts of Dr Newell, Fitzroy has been at the forefront of reconciliation and peacemaking in Northern Ireland for many years.

Dr Newell and his wife joined me in the studio to discuss their extraordinary lives and the many bends in the road through those lives.

Listen to my discussion with the Newells below or download the MP3:


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Notable points for discussion are documented below:

(Times are indicated should you wish to listen to any specific point raised):

00.00: Introduction & background to Ken and Val

14.14: Ken’s involvement in Orangeism

20.48: Queen’s University and engaging with a Catholic

23.27: Anti-ecumenical and right wing tendencies

31.53: Val, the challenges of living with a Presbyterian Minister

35.22: West Timor and befriending a Catholic priest

37.50: How the West Timor experience leads to befriending of Catholic priests in Belfast

38.50: 1981 – Father Gerry Reynolds ‘walks out of the future’

46.00: Engagement with Republicans – ‘turning the Titanic in a bath’

50.08: Val, how worrying was it for you that Ken was getting involved with people of violence?

52.16: Gerry Adams – secret talks. What sort of world was it?

57.00: The frustrations of ‘playing cricket with Sinn Fein’

61.55: Gerry Adams the person?

63.00: Killing of Ray Smallwoods

64.28: Val, was your world travelling in parallel with Ken’s while you were working in the prison?

66.50: Inviting the Head of the Catholic Church to the General Assembly for your installation as Moderator. How big a step was it? What was the cost?

72.00: Ian Paisley – how do you characterise him today?

80.03: Conclusion


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I am a regular contributor to discussion programmes on TV and radio both at home and abroad. An experienced political editor and author specialising in Politics, Security and 20th Century Art.

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