Northern journalist on ‘keeping the faith’

June 10, 2024 in Featured News, News

There was a great turnout in Queen’s University Belfast for the launch of veteran journalist Alf McCreary’s book Keeping the Faith, published by Jesuit Messenger Publications. The Rev Dr Eames, now Lord Eames, was to launch the book, but at the last minute was unable to attend, so he sent his address which was read on the night of Thursday 30 May 2024. Dr Eames has also written the foreword for the book. He says of Alf McCreary, ‘What we have here is a writer prepared to observe life, people and situations with a remarkable degree of human understanding’.

Alf McCreary is an award-winning journalist, particularly known for his work with the Belfast Telegraph. He is the author of over thirty books, writing extensively on faith issues, politics, and current affairs. He is also a former Head of Information at Queen’s University Belfast and now continues to publish as a freelance writer locally, nationally, and internationally.

Keeping the Faith tells the story of Alf McCreery’s life, from his childhood in Bessbrook, Co Armagh, through his career with the Belfast Telegraph, and right up to more recent times when the turbulent days of the ‘Troubles’ have been replaced with an ongoing and often times challenging peace process.

Drawing on his extensive experience and journalistic skills, McCreary explores the unholy alliance between religion and politics, and he underlines the importance and fragility of truth in a world of ‘fake news’.

Largely forgotten figures, like Telegraph editor John E. Sayers, are restored to the historical narrative of the ‘Troubles’ and the work of underappreciated mediators, like Prime Minister Terence O’Neill, is re-evaluated.

The author writes movingly about Gordon and Joan Wilson, with whom he was closely connected. Their lives were changed forever when their daughter died in the IRA cenotaph bombing in Enniskillen on Remembrance Day, 8 November 1987.

Reflecting on the aftermath of the war in the North and the importance of holding onto faith and hope the author esteems the peacemakers and bridge-builders – the unheralded heroes – who realised that if they could not speak the message of reconciliation, then they were left with nothing to say.

He underscores the importance of the compassion and forgiveness often shown by sometimes forgotten communities who never gave up hope for a better future, always believing in the importance of ‘keeping the faith’.