BLOG: R.I.P Anne Gallagher – a woman who saw the humanity in everyone

All of us at The Forgiveness Project were shocked and saddened to hear about the sudden death of Anne Gallagher on 7th August, 2013 in Dublin.  Anne was one of the first people I met whilst collecting forgiveness stories in Northern Ireland back in 2003.  I had no idea where this personal project would lead but Anne inspired me to continue a journey of collecting narratives that led to founding The Forgiveness Project.  You can read Anne’s story on this site.   Anne founded “Seeds of Hope”, an organisation that facilitated story-telling and sought to embrace not only ex-prisoners but anyone who had experienced hurt and pain as a consequence of the Troubles. She once said to me “The idea is that when you hear my story and I hear your story, it becomes our story, and seeds of hope are sown.

Jo Berry, who I also met that same year, knew Anne better than I did and has written this tribute to a brave and inspirational woman who trusted in the basic goodness of people:

“I first met Anne in 1985 when I went to Northern Ireland to make
sense of my Father’s death from the IRA in 1984. Anne warmly welcomed
me and introduced me to many people who she thought could help me. She
shared her own story, one of her family being involved in the
paramilitaries and her own vision for peace and dialogue. Her brother
Paul wrote to me from prison in 1986 and his letters which I still
have, enabled me to move forward in seeing the humanity in the

After the peace process I met Anne again and she had established
Seeds of Hope and created a visionary inspiring pamphlet about ex-
prisoners. Anne was a whirlwind of peace energy; she had the gift of
bringing together people from all backgrounds.

At a peace conference in Dublin in 2000 I shared my poem,’Bridges Can
be Built’ and a friend of Anne’s said he could arrange a meeting
between Pat and I. Three months later Anne rang me one morning at 8
3am as I was preparing to go to Glencree Reconciliation Center for the
weekend with the news that Patrick Magee would be at her house at 7pm
and asked whether I could be there. I was very scared as I travelled on the
ferry between Holyhead and Dublin but I knew Anne would be there
giving me support. Anne was the perfect person to facilitate our
meeting as for her it was normal to see the humanity in everyone, she
saw no one as the enemy. I remember her words that Pat would be more
scared than I was and that helped me calm down. Anne was very
sensitive to our needs during the 3 hours and came in at times with
tea and biscuits but left us to it as she could see we did not need
anyone else there. She was instrumental in arranging for us to be
filmed as well as asking us to speak at our first public talk, her
Seeds of Hope conference.

For Anne everything was possible, she believed in miracles and they
happened around her all the time. She was passionate about forgiveness
and peace and her work touched people from all over the world. I am so
grateful for all Anne gave me.  She has inspired me for 29 years
and I will take her vision for peace where ever I go.”


3 Comments on "BLOG: R.I.P Anne Gallagher – a woman who saw the humanity in everyone"

  1. Angela Daly says:

    My Best Friend, I love and miss you so much, I cant believe I will never hear your voice again. You Anne were the most amazing person i have had the pleasure of knowing. I write this with tears and cant stop since I heard the news on that day the sadness of all who knew you. I will cherish all the happy memories we had and we had some very good ones.Anne you were a women to look up to I know I will never meet the likes of Anne Gallagher again in my life time. There were times when we were together that I thought I was in the precance of God she was the most giving of her self and nothing was ever a problem,her time was your time. We will miss the most smallest of things that you would do Anne, and that was putting a hand on a shoulder that needed it, giving of your home when needed and your beautiful family how they would all help and give of them selves to others. You have thought them well You were and Are a mother to be very proud of I know i have walk beside a very special women in my live time. Anne may the Angels that you so cherished take you on there winds and bring you to the man above Love was the one think you gave to all. We who knew you, know we will never ever,meet the likes of you again you were a one off a very special lady Anne you will never be forgotten love you your friend Angela

  2. kate mc garry says:

    A very special woman indeed..I like everyone else who knew anne was so sad to hear of annes passing..anne was the most giving,loving, kind human being ive met and was always very sincere in asking “how are you”i had the pleasure of knowing anne and am gratefull for the nice chats we had!I opened up to anne one day in my house of how I was feeling at that particular time and will always be gratefull with the good and sincere advice she gave me!!anne was no doubt one in a angel on earth and I know is a beautifull angel in will be missed by so many!!god bless you anne and your beautifull family xx

  3. Barbara o Shea says:

    So sorry to hear of the passing og Anne, spent some time with Anne in hospital, she was so kind and just wished everyone well. So gave me hope and she will be always be in my prayers.

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