Derry democracy expert to give Gasyard Féile talk

The Derryman who ran some of the most elections in NI and who advised other countries around the world is the focus of an event tomorrow, Wednesday, as part of the Féile.

‘Ballots, Bombs and Bullets’ is the title of the event, and also of Pat Bradley’s new book about his experiences.

The event will see Pat in conversation with former BBC Journalist Paul McFadden about his work running elections throughout the Troubles - first in Derry and then across NI as the Chief Electoral Officer.

Pat will recount how he was thrown into the deep end as Deputy Electoral Officer in Derry in 1974 when his new job immediately began with a surprise General Election.

Patrick Bradley, the former NI Chief Electoral Officer (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)

Despite having no background and very little training in electoral law, Pat soon established himself as a recognised world expert on proportional representation and running elections in conflict zones. He ran a series of key elections in NI - from the election of Bobby Sands in 1981 to the Good Friday Agreement referendum in 1998 - and has a host of stories and anecdotes to share from these experiences.

Pat’s expertise was also sought by international organisations like the UN and EU, who asked him to act as a senior advisor during elections in emerging democracies around the world - from Russia to Hong Kong, and South Africa to Indonesia.

In the process of his overseas work, Pat rubbed shoulders with Presidents like Nelson Mandela and was also shot at in East Timor.

The event is at 7:30pm tomorrow, Wednesday August 17 in Pilot’s Row Community Centre on Rossville Street.


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Entry is free but space is limited, so people are asked to sign up in advance via’s book will be available to buy on the night, and can also be bought from Little Acorns Bookstore (Foyle Street), Foyle Books (Craft Village), the Visit Derry shop (Waterloo Place), or online at (search ‘ballots book’).