Well known Truagh lady Catherine Flood has been a volunteer with “Project Children” in America for many years, this documentary coming to the Garage Theatre in November highlights the fantastic work of the charity, and the contribution the project made to Peacebuilding in Northern Ireland. The late Fr Patrick Rice (d. September 2015) formerly from Tonyclea, Tydavnet, was also an active volunteer devoted to the charity’s work.
“How to Defuse a Bomb: The Project Children Story” is a documentary illustrating how the efforts and persistence of “The Project Children ” charity in USA forged the pathway for peace in Northern Ireland. Monaghan County Council is delighted to announce a two-day celebration of Project Children by screening the “How to Defuse a Bomb: The Project Children Story” in the Garage Theatre, Monaghan at 7pm on 14th and 15th November 2018. This a powerful feature documentary film that celebrates the unsullied hard work and dedication of the Project Children Charity and one of its founding members, Denis Mulcahy, a retired and highly decorated NYPD Bomb Squad Officer. The film documents the pursuit of reconciliation in Northern Ireland, through the medium of its children. Offering over 23,000 children a six-week summer reprieve from the intrinsic, sectarian violence of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland, this extraordinary tale resonates to all that is good in this world. In today’s era of both a shared and integrated society, this may not seem unusual but in the segregated communities of the seventies, this was a massive step toward healing.
Monaghan County Council proudly hosts Denis from Project Children and many key participants featured in the documentary to the Garage Theatre on the night. Denis, his family and friends of Project Children are traveling from America to attend this celebration and is facilitating a Q&A after the screening and we welcome all to contribute with their questions.
Denis Mulcahy’s Awards and Achievements – “Too numerous to list” Denis Mulcahy has received many accolades for his vigorous work in the assisting the peace process in Northern Ireland and was twice nominated for the very prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for all his work for the children of Northern Ireland. He was runner up to both Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. In 1995, Denis received the Top Cop Award in Washington D.C. by Vice President Al Gore and later that year, Denis accompanied President Clinton on his historic trip to Northern Ireland. In 2016 Denis received the title of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II. In 2017 he also received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad, presented to him personally by the President of Ireland Michael J. Higgins. In 2018, he also received a presentation on behalf of the Washington Ireland Program from the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar. Taoiseach Varadkar was one of the first participants from the south of Ireland on the Washington Ireland Program. This same year the Mulcahy Scholarship was founded by the Aisling Irish Community Center, Yonkers, NY. The scholarship is an opportunity for American high school students to attend summer camps in Ireland with the aim of experiencing and connecting to Irish culture and heritage. It is a fitting tribute to the Mulcahy family, who for forty years provided temporary respite to the children of Northern Ireland and to Denis who has been a devoted board member to the Aisling Center since 1996.
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About the Film: Narrated by Liam Neeson and written/directed by Des Henderson, “How to Defuse a Bomb: The Project Children Story” is an inspiring documentary focusing on the Project Children charity, whose work aimed at enlightening children of “The Troubles” that a non-violent existence was feasible and peace in Northern Ireland was possible once you embrace the other side. The film hosts interviews from Denis Mulcahy and his brother, Pat Mulcahy, who along with others, founded the charity in 1975. It also offers raw accounts on the experiences of the host families and the now adults, who participated as kids in the program. The dip back in time to the interview archives from the 1970’s offers powerful accentuation of the impact this program has had on the direction of so many lives. Former US President, Bill Clinton is also featured in the film, following Denis’ fundamental role in the work of reconciliation in Northern Ireland, along-side Mr. Clinton. “How to Defuse a Bomb” is a formidable film that tells the authentic story of real people, whose lives are now changed forever. It is imperative for the world to see this show. Although its predominant focus is on Northern Ireland, the documentary’s message highlights the need for a cohesive, visionary approach in order to surpass the complications of conflict. So powerful and prevalent given the world we live in today! How to Defuse a Bomb: The Project Children Story (2016, 90mins) Project Children Website: www.projectchildren.org
About Denis Mulcahy: Denis P. Mulcahy, a native of Rockchapel, County Cork, emigrated to the United States in 1962. He joined the New York City Police Department in 1969. He served with the Tactical Patrol Force, Street Crime Unit, and the 28th Precinct Detective Squad, before joining the elite Bomb Squad in 1983. He retired in 2002 as a First Grade Detective after 33 years of dedicated service to the NYPD.
Denis was one of the founding members of the PROJECT CHILDREN CHARITY in 1975. Throughout the 40 years of the program over 23,000 young Catholics and Protestant children travelled to the US for summer holiday respite from the everyday violence and strife of their homeland. The program continues for the young adults in the intern program. The intern program is both cross community and cross border and gives them the opportunity to work together beginning each summer with a week working together at Habitat for Humanity in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
In 1975 Denis was instrumental in founding the Greenwood Lake Gaelic Society and served as its first President. In 1987, Denis was awarded the Medal of Valor by the NYCPD for the extremely dangerous task of diffusing a bomb. Also, in 1987 Denis was honored with the Bene Merenti Award from his Holiness Pope John Paul II. He also received the Private Sector Initiative Commendation from President Ronald Reagan, as well as the Cúchulainn Award from the Sacred Heart Club of County Armagh. He was honored by the County Cork B.P.P. Association in March 1988 and was Irish Man of the Year in 1988 for the Emerald Golf Society. In November of 1989, he was awarded the People of the Year Award in Dublin, Ireland.
Cardinal John O’Connor awarded the Cardinal Cooke Right to Life to Denis in 1991. In 1993, Ireland’s President Mary Robinson presented him with the Irish Voice’s Community Person of the Year Award. He was also nominated for two consecutive years for the very prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for all his work for the children of Northern Ireland and was runner up to Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa.
In March of 1994, Denis was chosen as one of the top 100 Irish Americans of the Year, receiving an award from the former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds. He was also a guest of President Clinton at the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the White House. In 1995 Denis received the Top Cop Award in Washington D.C. by Vice President Al Gore. In November of 1995, President Clinton asked Denis to join him on his historic trip to Northern Ireland.
In that same year ABC News named him Person of the Week. The World of Hibernia considers him one of fifty “SuperIrish”. In 1996 the NYC Police Department Emerald Society honored Denis as Man of the Year. In 1996 he was named Grand Marshal of the Mid Hudson and 1999 Washington D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In 2000 he was honored by the Dublin Society and named Man of the Year by the NYPD Holy Name Society. He was awarded the McClancy Leadership Award from Msgr. McClancy Memorial High School. He received the Council’s 2011 Humanitarian Award from The Council of Irish Associations of Greater Bergen County, Inc.
Denis has received Honorary Doctorate degrees from Mount Saint Mary College and Holy Family University. In 2016 Denis received the title of Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II.
In 2017 at the NY State AOH Convention Denis received the Commodore John Barry medal. In 2017 he also received the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad, presented to him personally by the President of Ireland Michael J. Higgins.
In 2018, Denis received the Dr. Eoin McKiernan Award from the Irish American Cultural Institute and also received a presentation on behalf of the Washington Ireland Program from the Irish Taoiseach, Leo Vradkar. Taoiseach Vradkar was one of the first participants from the south of Ireland on the Washington Ireland Program. This same year the Mulcahy Scholarship was founded by the Aisling Irish Community Center, Yonkers, NY. The scholarship is an opportunity for American high school students to attend summer camps in Ireland with the aim of experiencing and connecting to Irish culture and heritage. It is a fitting tribute to the Mulcahy family, who for forty years provided temporary respite to the children of Northern Ireland and to Denis who has been a devoted board member to the Aisling Center since 1996. Most recently, Denis received the Ancient Order of Hibernians JFK National Award in Louisville, Kentucky.
Denis’ long commitment to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland was documented in the recent documentary, “How to Defuse a Bomb: The Project Children Story”, with some of the key political figures of the peace process, such as President Bill Clinton, former deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland Martin McGuinness and US House Representative, Joe Crowley featured in the film.
Denis is married to the former Miriam O’Rourke, a native of County Leitrim. They reside in Greenwood Lake, New York. They have four children: Denis Jr., a partner with Deloitte and Touche, Maureen, a Lieutenant with Manhattan Detectives, Sean, also with the NYPD Bomb Squad, and Tara, a Court Officer in Manhattan. They have eight grandchildren, Tara-Lynne, Denise, Seana, Kaitlyn, Denis III, Lindsay, Sean, and Jake.