Paddy Woodworth

Helen Shaw’s guest in this episode is journalist, author and environmentalist Paddy Woodworth. Paddy is the author of ‘Our Once and Future Planet’ (2018), an exploration of how we restore our environment. In this conversation he shares how he became a nature lover when he was a young boy and his parents would de-camp from Bray to a nissan hut in Co Wicklow for the long summer months enjoying the outdoors.

Helen and Paddy crossed paths in the mid 1980s when they were both journalists in the Irish Times and Paddy was well known as an expert on the Basque conflict. His earlier work ‘Dirty War, Clean Hands’ (2001) charted how the Spanish State confronted ETA and is seen as a seminal study on post-Franco Spain.

Paddy grew up in Bray in the 1950s, his family were Protestant, middle-class, and his early school days were seeped in what he describes as a ‘little Britain’ ethos. He reacted against it, and became more attracted to left-wing politics and republicanism, in an era of student politics and protests. In the 1970s he joined Official Sinn Fein and he talks about his disenchantment with it by the 1980s and how the only political agenda he now stands with is the environmental one, but he sees that movement as intrinsically tied to social justice.

You can find out more about Paddy’s work at