His mother was an Irish Traveller. His father was an IRA prisoner. And he grew up in Birmingham, in the shadow of the pub-bombings, which killed 21 people in 1974, and the wrongful conviction of the Birmingham Six.
When Sinn Fein Senator, Padraig MacLochlainn was 10, his father was released from prison. But just two years later, he lost his father in a drowning accident.
Speaking to Abie Philbin Bowman for the RTE Podcast 'Humans of Politics', Senator MacLochlainn describes his father Raymond as a ‘hero’ who used his son’s regular visits, as an opportunity for both of them to educate themselves about geography, history and language.
Raymond McLaughlin wrote a book about his time in prison, published posthumously under the title "Inside an English Jail".
He also speaks about being the first TD of Traveller heritage.
"We have to be honest. There are challenges. There are people in the settled community who are not racist, but who have had a very bad experience of the unfortunate tiny minority of Travellers who they have met".