Businessmen in Troubles documentary

Members of Derry’s business community are to feature in the last episide of a TV documentary which zeroes in on people who kept life moving despite the Troubles.

Friday, 18th October 2019, 10:07 am
Hugh McDaid.

UTV’s ‘Frontline’ concludes on Tuesday with a programme dedicated to those local business people who helped to keep NI functioning during the conflict.

Doctors and nurses shared their stories in the first two episodes, with 3 and 4 featuring teachers and the entertainment industry.

Episode 5 shone a light on social workers, with the final episode set to focus on the business community.


Many of those interviewed remain in business to this day, a testament to their resilience and determination to keep their businesses going despite setbacks.

Tuesday’s episode will feature contributions from Declan and Luke Hasson, who owned Austins in Derry, and Hugh McDaid, who now runs Badger’s pub - famous for the ‘Derry Girls’ mural on its gable end.

Looking back to the 1970s, Hugh McDaid recalls an incident in a pub where he worked in which a woman accidentally snagged her dress on a nail in the toilets, inadvertently uncovering a bomb hidden behind a panel. Fortunately, Hugh was able to evacuate the pub before the bomb went off.

The Hassons speak of their Diamond store being regularly targeted, and also, because of their central location in the city centre, witnessing other violent incidents.

Declan Hasson.

Belfast hoteliers, Bill Wolsey, Howard Hasting and Lord Rana, also take part in the series, sharing their own experiences of bombs, bomb scares and how Belfast turned into a ‘no go’ area for several years.

Series Producer Sinead Hughes, says: “The professions we are highlighting in this series are the unsung heroes of that time and we were delighted that so many business people shared their personal and moving stories.”

‘Frontline’ will be screened on UTV on Tuesday, October 22 at 10.45pm.