A Shared Home Place: Seamus Mallon

A Shared Home Place

Seamus Mallon with Andy Pollak

By: Andy Pollak , Seamus Mallon

Publication Date: 17 May 2019


Written by Seamus Mallon and Andy Pollak.

As one of Northern Ireland’s most prominent nationalist politicians, Seamus Mallon has always sought the genuine reconciliation of conflicting traditions using only peaceful means. This is his personal testament.

In A Shared Home Place, Mallon evokes his happy childhood in the Protestant heartland of Markethill, south Armagh, and dwells on the turbulent years of constitutional politics in the maelstrom of near-civil war during the 1970s and 19080s. He was the target of both loyalist violence and republican vilification, and his harrowing descriptions of tit-for-tat brutality in Northern Ireland’s most bloody region outside Belfast bear poignant witness to the tragedy of hatred between neighbours.

Mallon complemented John Hume in laying the foundations of the peace process and gives fascinating insights into what took place behind the scenes of negotiation that led to the Good Friday Agreement. Now in his eighty-third year, Mallon reflects upon this hard-won deal with the Ulster Unionists and calls for a new beginning – a shared home place in which Irish unity can only be achieved through parallel consent.

This timely memoir encompasses the social and political history of Northern Ireland, and offers hope for its future.


Seamus Mallon, from Markethill in County Armagh, was Deputy Leader of the SDLP from 1979 to 2001 and party spokesman on policing and justice. He was Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland from 1998 to 2001, MP for Newry and Armagh from 1986 to 2005, and a member of Seanad Éireann in 1982. He was the SDLP’s chief negotiator in the talks that led to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. He also framed legislation in the Westminster parliament that pushed for full implementation of the Patten Commission’s recommendations on police reform in the North – one of the major success stories of the peace process.

Andy Pollak is the founding director of the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh (1999–2013). Previous to that, he was Belfast reporter, religious affairs and education correspondent with The Irish Times and editor of Fortnight Magazine. He is co-author (with Ed Moloney) of a biography of the Rev. Ian Paisley. In the early 1990s he was coordinator of the Opsahl Commission, a Citizens Inquiry into the ways forward for Northern Ireland, and edited the influential 1993 Opsahl Report that resulted.

‘Alongside legendary peace-maker John Hume, Seamus dedicated his life’s work to peace with justice and parity of esteem. The story he tells reveals the effects of bad politics and the considerable courage needed to be a champion of change.’ MARY McALEESE

‘Seamus Mallon’s integrity, courage and fierce intelligence have long shone through the mark of sectarian emotions and tribal thinking. Here, with undiminished clarity, he illuminates both the recent past and the uncertain future of Ireland.’ FINTAN O’TOOLE

‘Typically honest and compelling, this book will further cement Seamus Mallon’s place in the history of the peace process. One of the best of the good guys, witness to some of the worst atrocities of the Troubles, his passion for the future and hope of a new beginning burn as brightly as ever.’ ALASTAIR CAMPBELL

‘Mallon is a great Irishman who we can all honour and learn from. This book is a testament to the peace and progress achieved for the island of Ireland.’ MICHEÁL MARTIN

‘What is striking about this memoir is his ability to weave a remarkable eloquence around the unvarnished details of devastation that led to such funerals.’ DIARMAID FERRITER, IRISH TIMES

‘Mallon makes a compelling case for what the future of peace in Ireland might look like.’ HOT PRESS

‘This deeply humane memoir from one of the most prominent Northern politicians reflects on the Troubles and beyond.’ IRISH INDEPENDENT

Also available as an ebook

1 review for A Shared Home Place

  1. Lilliput Press

    What is striking about this memoir is his ability to weave a remarkable eloquence around the unvarnished details of devastation that led to such funerals.

    – The Irish Times

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Weight .500 kg
Dimensions 234 × 156 mm
Publication Date

17 May 2019



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