Listen: Q+A Episode 5: 30 Years of GCN With Tonie Walsh and Deborah Ballard

In the fifth episode of Q+A, GCN’s Queer and Alternative podcast, we talk to Tonie Walsh and Deborah Ballard about the founding and history of GCN magazine.


In this very special episode of Q+A, GCN’s Queer and Alternative podcast, we’re celebrating 30 years of publication for GCN, joined by Tonie Walsh and Deborah Ballard.

Co-founded by activist Tonie Walsh in 1988 as a free information service for a pre-Internet queer community, three decades on, Q+A host and current editor Brian Finnegan sits down to chat with Walsh about the magazines beginnings in a burnt out building in Dublin’s Temple Bar. They talk about how GCN has evolved between then and now.

They’re joined by Deborah Ballard, who edited the publication in the mid-90s, for lots of laughter, reminiscence, great stories, and general chit-chat about the oldest free LGBT+ community publication in the world.

Tonie also talks about his very first interview as a journalist being with Mary McAleese – “I wanted to draw her out on what I found was the weird disconnect between the fact that she was against abortion but she was very much for…gay rights”

Deborah recounts how in that first location of the magazine, the staff would have to pass through a charred and ruined dance floor to get to the offices – “I do remember one of our staff, poor woman, went downstairs innocently on her way out and the ceiling fell in on her. She was covered with the dust of ages and plaster, this grey form coming out having to be washed off!”

Also the founder of the Irish Queer Archive, Tonie talks about the value of GCN as an archive itself. Tonie says that in the early days of the magazine, the staff realised – “If we play this right, we’ve got a treasure trove…it’s quite extraordinary, there’s nothing else like it in this country.”

Listen to Q+A Episode 5: 30 Years of GCN wherever you get your podcasts, on audioboom, or listen directly below.

Music by Will St Leger and Faune.

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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