In the latest of our Northern Roots series, where we speak to people originally from Northern Ireland but currently living elsewhere, our interviewee is Mo Ruddy.
1. Tell us about yourself. When did you leave Northern Ireland, and where did you go? What do you do now?
Having spent all 27 years of my life in Northern Ireland, I left Newry in February 2016 and moved to Bellshill which is a few miles outside Glasgow. I’m currently working as a manager for Capita in Glasgow itself.
2. What do you think when you see the Northern Ireland of today, in the news and on social media?
I check the news back home on a daily basis and more often than not it makes me cringe: how things are still the same between political parties, arguments over flags, marches, bonfires. Trying to explain all of this to people from outside Northern Ireland is difficult without spending hours going back through hundreds of years of history.
3. Are you hopeful for Northern Ireland’s future? Will Brexit make a difference?
Northern Ireland’s future is looking a little bit shaky at the moment, especially with the possible loss of jobs at Bombardier in Belfast. Realistically there needs to be no change to the Irish border as it is; if NI is given ‘special status’ after Brexit I think things will be okay in the long run.
4. Do you think you will return to Northern Ireland? What could convince you to come back?
I have absolutely no plans to return to Northern Ireland on a permanent basis. Although there are many similarities, the way of life in Glasgow is excellent and job opportunities are much greater compared to back home.
5. What can Northern Ireland learn from the place you live now?
As previously stated, things are not too different in Scotland when compared to Northern Ireland. However, if I could take one thing to change in Northern Ireland it would be the railway system. Don’t get me wrong, Scotrail come in for just as much if not more criticism as compared to NI Railways/Ulsterbus. It’s the accessibility to go anywhere you want and at a reasonable price without having to spend hours on a bus. The options to travel by rail back home are extremely poor.
6. If Northern Ireland had a president with sweeping powers, and it was you, what would you do?
I’d get rid of green and orange politics. No matter the policies presented to people, what is promised and not followed through with, we always seem to end up with the same outcome over and over and then complain about it.
7. What would you like to see more of on Northern Slant?
I’ve been reading the sport articles which have been excellent. An Irish League fan most of my life, I’d like to see more articles around the league and lower leagues. A lot of people at home still prefer to follow football teams across the water and don’t realise what they have on their doorstep.
8. If you could ask Northern Ireland politicians (past or present) to dinner, who would they be? And why?
The first two would have to be the ‘chuckle brothers’, Ian Paisley senior and Martin McGuinness. The laughs these two had in their later years was brilliant to see; I’m sure there would be some interesting stories to be told. The third would have to be John Hume, to discuss his part in the peace process having won a Nobel Peace Prize.
9. Do you have a favourite quote, or mantra?
I’m not really one for quotes, unless it’s a quote from Father Ted.
10. What’s your message for people back home?
There is a world of opportunity out there. Explore it.
Also published on Medium.