The Reverend Lesley Carroll is from County Tyrone, educated at Dungannon High School for Girls. Third level vocational studies were at the College of St Mark & St John Plymouth, QUB & TCD.Brian John Spencer: "When did you first learn about the Easter Rising of 1916?" Reverend Lesley Carroll:
"I have no idea. I feel like I have always known about it - came with the DNA!"BJS: "Do the men, the act or the stated ideals in the proclamation mean anything to you?" RLC:
"Yes. I understand it to be an aspirational document full of emotion and aimed at a reality very difficult to achieve."
BJS: "When did you first learn about the Battle of the Somme?" RLC:
"Again I have no idea when I first learned of it but it was part of the focus of 0 level history."
BJS: "Does this act, the men and their determination to show their loyalty to Britain mean anything to you?" RLC:
"Such dedication to country is not something I understand, at least not fully. What the Somme tells me is about the futility of much violence, I wouldn’t want to say all because in the face of Nazi Germany things were different. But a violent struggle of any kind needs to stir hearts and does not often achieve what it promises. The same, therefore, goes for the Easter Rising."
BJS: "As a (British/Irish/Northern Irish*) person, is the 1916 Rising important to you and your sense of identity and sense of belonging on this island?" RLC:
"As a Northern Irish person the Rising is important to me as a way of understanding where my cohabitants on this Island are coming from. emotionally and politically."
BJS: "As a (British/Irish/Northern Irish*) person, is the Somme offensive important to you and your sense of identity and sense of belonging on this island?" RLC:
"As a Northern Irish person the Somme is part of my heritage as someone from the Unionist community. It is not offensive but reminds me of the failures of humanity resolve difference humanely. It makes me full of grief to remember it."
BJS: "Will you be commemorating or celebrating either of these two events in April and July of this year respectively?" RLC:
"I will attend some commemorative events but I fear how they will all be used, each against the other."
BJS: "Are you happy with the series of commemorative events put on by the Irish State? And what do you think of Arlene Foster's take on the events of Easter 1916 (she has refused to attend any commemorations)?" RLC:
"I don’t think Arlene has in the end refused to attend. I am saddened and angered that these events could not have been planned more inclusively - at the planning level. all the way to the top."
BJS: "As a person on (or from) the island are you happy with the where we are now at in terms of culture, cosmopolitanism and broad-mindedness?" RLC:
"No. We have a long way to assist each other to belong with and to each other."
BJS: "What are your hopes for the future of this divided province and island?" RLC:
"That the glory we chose will be in a shared future and not in divided histories."
BJS: "Please share any further thoughts these questions may have stimulated." RLC:
"I could spend a lot longer on this but you wanted quick fire! This is important in prompting my thinking."