The Meaning Of Life with Gay Byrne

Programme 2

Gay Byrne with Fionnula Flanagan

Fionnula Flanagan
Emmy and IFTA-winning actress, Fionnula Flanagan, reveals to Gay Byrne how her moral compass owes much more to her ex-communicated, alcoholic revolutionary father than to the nuns who educated her. She also talks candidly about her own battle with drink; about acting as a vocation; and about the God she believes in. and the one she doesn't.

Fionnula Flanagan grew up in Dublin. Her mother was a fairly conventional, practising Catholic, but her father was a revolutionary, who had fought against Franco's Fascists in the Spanish Civil War. He returned, not only wounded, but ex-communicated by the Catholic Church, and that instilled in him a bitter resentment of priests. Nonetheless, Fionnula was educated mainly at Catholic schools - Holy Faith, Whitehall; Scoil Mhuire and Scoil Chaitríona - and still has tremendous respect for the nuns who taught her. Even so, she doesn't share the faith they tried to instil in her and certainly not their trust in the institutional Church.

In this frank and revealing interview Fionnula Flanagan discusses the life events and people that have influenced her beliefs and convictions.



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