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Ex-IRA bomber to play peacemaker John Hume at historic venue he once blew up

Gerard Doherty was jailed for 15 years for the 1972 bomb and the attempted murder of a British soldier the same year

Gerry Doherty as John Hume

John Hume

Ciaran O'NeillSunday World

A former IRA man once convicted of blowing up Derry’s Guildhall is to take on the role of John Hume in a new play at the same venue.

Gerard Doherty was convicted of planting a bomb in the Guildhall in June 1972.

No one was injured in the attack but massive damage was caused to the historic city centre building.

Doherty, who was jailed for 15 years for the 1972 bomb and the attempted murder of a British soldier the same year, will be at the Guildhall for a much different reason later this month.

He will play the former SDLP leader in the new musical production which is called Hume – Beyond Belief - The Life and Mission of John and Pat Hume.

Doherty studied acting after leaving prison and has featured in a number of films and plays.

John Hume

He will perform as John Hume in the latter stages of the new production which will performed at the Guildhall from March 31 to April 7.

The show, which is already sold out, will tell the story of Mr Hume and his wife Pat’s efforts to bring peace to Ireland.

The play is a partnership between the John and Pat Hume Foundation and The Playhouse theatre in Derry.

HUME-Beyond Belief trailer

Speaking earlier this year, the Humes’ daughter, Aine Abbott, said they were “huge admirers” of the peacebuilding work of the staff at The Playhouse.

"Both my parents were inspired and heartened by the rich creativity, humanity and international reach of The Playhouse’s work over many decades.

“We are confident that The Playhouse will honour the ideals and aspirations held by my parents and the many people who worked alongside them.

"My father’s career held both triumph and hardship, but he was a warm (slightly eccentric), kind and funny family man, a man who loved nothing more than to sing.

"He was a proud Derry man. It will be emotional for us to see his presence step on the stage of the Guildhall.”

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