An Interview with Garry O’Sullivan

by Gordon Nary



Gordon: Where did you attend University and what degrees did you earn?


Garry: I went to Dublin City University (DCU) and did a degree in Communications and followed that with a Masters in Journalism.


Gordon: Where did you first work as a journalist?


Garry: My first job was with The Irish Voice newspaper and America Magazine in New York City.


Gordon: When did you work for Vatican Radio and what were your primary responsibilities?


Garry: I worked for Vatican Radio in the Jubilee year (2000) as a Radio Producer. My role was to present live on air along with two other presenters, one in French and one in Italian. I also trained a group of interns. We met with Pope John Paul II at the end of the year which was wonderful.


Gordon: When did you work at The Word Magazine and what were your primary responsibilities?


Garry: After a year in New York, followed by a year in Rome I returned to Dublin to work in The Irish Catholic newspaper and I also worked as Editor of the monthly Word magazine, run by the Divine Word Missionaries. The Word had a broad interest and was modeled on Readers Digest. It allowed for interviewing a broad swathe of people and approaching faith in the best and broadest meaning of the word Catholic.


Gordon: What were some of you favourite memories when you worked at Jesuits Ireland?


Garry: The Jesuits were great, I got through a tough interview process to become their Communications Manager. The Jesuits do things properly and seek the best of individuals who work with them. One of my favourite memories is the fact that the provincial of the day decided that it was wise to have the communications professional at the table when issues were being discussed rather than handing a fait accompli to the communications director and asking the impossible. That was smart and forward thinking for a religious order.


Gordon: What were some of the challenges when you worked as Managing Editor at Irish Catholic?


Garry: The abuse scandals were like a storm blowing around the Church and the bishops were in their bunkers. The challenge for the paper was to stand between the secular media and the bishops, stand with the victims and report the truth in all honesty and to give all others voices space without fear or favour. You can imagine how popular that stance was in ecclesiastical circles but I felt that Catholic media has to adhere to the true standards of professional journalism or it is public relations. The Irish Catholic is a proud lay-led newspaper since 1888.


Gordon: What were you primary responsibilities when you were Chair of The Board of Trustees at All Hallows Trust?


Garry: Very quickly after I was appointed I knew that we had to save the Trust for future generations. While the Trust endowment is relatively small, All Hallows is a by-word for helping Catholics in faith formation and advocating lay pastoral involvement. We needed to respond to the sharp decay of the institutional IrishChurch and raise a voice for those who felt the ship was rudderless. I am still the Chairman and we are actively contacting the pastmen of All Hallows who went out as missionaries throughout the world and led extraordinary lives in America, Australia, the UK and so on. We will never see their like again.


Gordon: What are your responsibilities as Owner and Publisher, Owner, and Publisher of Grace Communications Ltd?


Garry: We run a weekly Catholic newspaper, The Irish Catholic. We run Magnificat Ireland and so my biggest responsibility is my team and ensuring that they are valued and rewarded for their hard work.


Gordon: What is Columba and Currach Books Ltd?


Garry: Columba Books is a small book publishing company that publishes books that challenge and critique our faith and call us all to a higher standard. It had a previous incarnation under different owners as Columba Press. Currach Books publishes children’s books and books about Ireland, and its culture and history and its mythology.


Gordon: what impact has your faith had upon your work?


Garry: Faith seeking understanding has always been my faith mantra and it drives me and my publishing. I heard Bishop Barron say that ‘faith must always be on the far side of reason’ and I couldn’t agree more.


Gordon: Thank you for a great interview.