“First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists. I didn’t speak out again, because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews. I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
And then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Brian Reilly, serial entrepreneur, consummate networker, and skillful persuader, took time out of his busy schedule to visit the café recently and waxed lyrical on all manner of things, from fellas falling out of hospital beds and re-injuring themselves, to Midnight Sessions and the power of music to lift spirits, particularly Irish spirits, to ‘Golfgate’ and that moment when ‘collusion turned to corruption’ thus his reciting of the famous Martin Niemöller piece penned in Nazi Germany during The Second World War, presented above.

A fascinating, meandering, thought provoking, challenging, fun, human conversation on Season 4, Episode 2 of The Coffee at Eleven Show – People Worth Meeting.

Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you to stick on the kettle, grab a coffee and connect and think along with this unique Irish soul, a ‘practicing catalyst’ Brian J. Reilly, for a short while in your preferred way.

Yours Truly: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. You are more than welcome to this, another episode of The Coffee at Eleven Show, brought to you by WIG-WAM and supported in season four here by the Limerick Post newspaper: Keeping Limerick Posted #limerickandproud.

Delighted to have with us here today our very special guest, and a new friend of mine, but a man that I’m intrigued by, and his name is Brian J. Reilly. Brian, say hello. Cheers us with your mug, and I will introduce you then.

Brian Reilly: Hello. Good morning. Good morning, everybody.

Retrospective is not something I’m comfortable … You know, I don’t do it, and this forced me to have a look back. Hence the, “don’t look back in anger.” So I look back with joy at things. So I was struck by Joe Biden when he said there recently, I think it was at the Patrick’s Day thing, that the Irish are great; they’re nostalgic about the future. And that would certainly apply to me. So the sooner we can get to the future, the better.

So this fella who had fallen off a building in London was in the bed beside me. Not literally beside me, but in the next bed. And he, it was his 21st, or something, some big birthday and Guinness used to supply free Guinness to the adults, people for convalescing. So I got, at this stage I had been allowed into a wheelchair.

So I broke out of the ward, St. Joseph’s ward went down in the wheelchair, got a case of this beer, your man got the guitar out, we had a little session outside, a couple of the nurses joined us. The poor guy fell out of the bed and re-broke his back. So sister Ucar … I’m only have to take you to this now, sister Ucariat, my punishment, Colm, was … there was a television in the ward, and I remember all of these guys were sitting along there and they turned my bed the other way around. So my punishment was that I couldn’t watch the telly.

Yours Truly: Two quick questions, Brian, very quick, you don’t mind responses, right. And one is what are you taking with you from COVID that you’re not letting go of?

I take away COVID … I had, when I talked about reinventing myself after the crash in 2010, which was a big chapter of my life, when I sat back, I realized the network that I had and how to do that and how to communicate and so on. That overlapped into COVID and I think one of the things I’ve learned in COVID, is that other people came into their own bunkers. They couldn’t move around and do all the things that we do naturally and want to do.

So we had to find a new way to communicate. And we’ve got so many technologies available to us, whether it’s WhatsApp or Facebook or Zoom, or whatever. So I think getting up and reaching out, every network starts with one person, and you can just keep building on that and then you’ll find people who will introduce you to other ones and bring you into things. So, I’d say joining of dots, engaging and not letting COVID get on top of you, because there’s a way and you just have to find it yourself. It won’t come to you. So you’ve got to reach out, I think. That’d be one answer.

Yours Truly: Wonderful. Wonderful and we’re back to, “They is You”. Start something, don’t be waiting on everybody else to start it. Just start, see where it leads.

So, yeah. Can I just read this very quickly?

Yours Truly: You can, yeah, of course yeah.

Brian Reilly: I put it up on, the other day and I sent it as I have done on numerous occasions. I sent it to every politician who’s in my data book and it’s a poem that was written by a guy called Martin Niemöller. And he posted this, believe it or not in Nazi Germany. And he went around and it bugged them. And they never, I don’t think they ever caught him, but he would post these things on pole things around him. And here it was. And it struck me that every politician here should listen to it and people as well, should think about this.

What he said was,

“First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists. I didn’t speak out again, because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews. I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
And then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Now, you know what happens in Ireland, I think, and this is the apathy I talked about in the mainstream media, who have failed us. The politicians have failed us, specifically in relation to that mountain of distress and debt that arose from that crash in 2010, don’t forget the banks were bailed out, the government got off the hook, they blamed a few banks and a few politicians, but essentially it’s up to people to get up and do something about it, because Irish people are so typical, they shrug their shoulders and “What can you do?”

You had one or two high profile journalists who did write articles, but they only wrote an article, like Charlie Weston or something, when he got a letter from the vulture funds, “Oh, shock, horror.” Or what, it’s like when, if your mother or your father or somebody belonging to you ends up on a hospital trolley, you get all intense and then you wonder why the politician doesn’t do something and why the newspaper doesn’t publish it. And yet this is all happening right now, right under our nose. These guys are getting away with murder, they’re doing nothing. And they’re still talking about their “…record speaks for itself”.

I rest, I rest my case.

Yours Truly: Thank you for that, Brian. And you know, your case is well and truly rested. But thank you for waking some of us up to the realities of what’s going on out there. Second question, then to Princess Shelley, you have 60 seconds to answer this one is, you meet somebody who is in distress, not because necessarily of debt, but because of COVID, what would you recommend they do? What one step could you recommend they would take?

Brian Reilly: I, yeah, not to bottle it up, I think. You know, to reach out. And as I said, that could be one person and realize that everybody else has gone through their own journey. And they’re not judging and they’re not … so if you’re stressed and if you’re distressed, there are groups and there are people out there and people care more than you imagine. And you know a cup of coffee or something like this, is a tremendous platform for that and Colm, just remember Michael Durkan’s mother told him and he passed it on to me … I see your guitar in the background there… whether you’re good, bad or indifferent, or whether you just want to listen to music, “music is no weight to carry, through life.”

Did you enjoy that? Want some more?

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