FORMER republican prisoner turned teacher, Paddy McMenamin, is set to launch his book ‘From Armed Struggle to Academia’ tonight, Thursday 3 March in the Felons at 7pm.
 
Originally from Turf Lodge, Paddy spent the 1970s in Long Kesh before moving to Donegal where his children and grandchildren live today. Paddy's family is steeped in republican history with his sister Bernadette having played in the Joe McKelvey band and piped at Bobby Sands' funeral. 
 
“In 2003 I took voluntary redundancy from a German car factory after 20 years and returned to university at the age of 50,” he said.
 
“After as long in academia as I was in the Cages, I graduated as a secondary school teacher and had a late career in Galway.
 
“This book is a story about life, about how I went from armed struggle to academia. It is a personal story bringing pathos and powerful recollection from an immensely difficult time in our recent history."

 

BOOK LAUNCH: From Armed Struggle to Academia will launch in the Felons on Thursday night
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BOOK LAUNCH: From Armed Struggle to Academia will launch in the Felons on Thursday night

Paddy added that he has always been a writer, since his time in Long Kesh.

"I used to do a news sheet in the Cages. The writing was always there. We talked about it at the launch in Galway the other night and there is that sort of thing where working class kids don't do things like this. It is always the leaders, it is the generals and it is not really for us in a sense.

"I was talking to Larry Marley's son, who is a lecturer in Galway. He told me to write the book. There are loads of guys in Turf Lodge and Andytown who have the same story but Lawrence told me that while there might be thousands of them with the same story, they don't write and it was important that I get my story down on paper.

"About five years ago I went through a series of health problems. I had three open heart surgeries in 18 months and after surviving they found a brain tumour about six weeks later.

"I was more or less a goner but I survived."

Paddy added that when Covid came, his book became a lockdown project.

"My partner Mary told me to write the book. I had brought out a number of smaller books during the first lockdown to raise funds for Pieta House and published them myself on Amazon which gave me the push to put my story on paper."

The event will be compered by Gerry Scullion and guest speakers will include former Mayor of Dundalk and EU election candidate, Barrister Neil McCann alongside Director of Understanding Ireland; Socially, Culturally, Economically at the Clinton Centre in Eniskillen, Keith McNair.