Rita Kelly Mullan, Agent of Peaceable Change. A Conversation With Bronagh Hanley
Play • 34 min


Rita Kelly Mullan worked as a nurse, founded the nonprofit The Irish National Caucus, successfully lobbied the U.S. government to recognize human rights issues in Northern Ireland, received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights, was named one of the Top 100 Peacemakers by Irish America Magazine, and testified multiple times before Congress.

But she was  described as a ‘Belfast housewife’ in a  1979 story in The New York Times. 

Born in Northern Ireland in 1940, Rita went on to become a key part of U.S. involvement there. She helped lobby for the passage of the MacBride Principles, a code of conduct for U.S. companies doing business in Northern Ireland. 

She emigrated to the U.S. as a single mother with her two kids in 1976 to escape the violent conflict between Ireland and Northern Ireland. After arriving, she was able to find a job as a nurse in Arkansas, then moved her family to Washington D.C. to start her nonprofit and lobby the government.

This week, Katie speaks with Rita’s daughter, Bronagh Hanley,  about her childhood and her mother’s work. Bronagh is the founder of Big Noise PR, a  San Francisco-based public relations firm.

Artwork by Paula Mangin (@PaulaBallah)

Music composed and performed by Andrea Perry

Producer: Alice Hudson, Claire Trageser

Mother Word Cloud: Please contribute the one word that best describes your mother to the Mother Word Cloud at www.ourmothersourselves.com.

Note: Our sister podcast, Mother Mine, has moved to a separate feed.
Click here to listen to it on Apple Podcasts

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