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DUNDARA TELEVISION & MEDIA

PRODUCTION COMPANY & CREATIVE AGENCY

Changing Times - The Allenwood Conversations Logo

with

Mary McAleese and Mary Kennedy

A former President of Ireland, a broadcasting icon and an array of guests with an incredible story to tell.

Produced by Enda Grace at Dundara Television and Media.

Kathryn Thomas with Mary McAleese and Mary Kennedy at Dundara Studio

Kathryn Thomas

What do you do when faced with death in Papua New Guinea? Even worse, what do you do when 007 walks in on you when you're on the toilet?? How do you deal with nasty comments online? What do you do when a juggernaut like Operation Transformation finishes?

Kathryn Thomas, one of the most talented, successful and hardworking TV and radio presenters in Ireland comes to Allenwood tells Mary and Mary all. She also tells why she set up a new business, what her thoughts are on television in Ireland today and why she had ten bridesmaids!

Kathryn Thomas Transcription

Mary McAleese: [00:00:00] Changing Times. The Allenwood conversations proudly sponsored by Kildare County Council.

Kathryn Thomas: I just went, Oh my God, this is where it's all going to end. I was frozen with fear. I was rigid with fear. And I just knew he had this huge, big knife. And I just thought, this is the end of us.

Mary Kennedy: Well, Mary, here comes summer. Although I know

Mary McAleese: Where? Have you looked out the window?

Mary Kennedy: There are days when you wouldn't think so, but of course it is.

And the people are thinking about going on holidays. And our guest today, my goodness, she has been to more countries that I've had hot dinners. Not you, but me.

Mary McAleese: Well, I know that you love to travel. I've traveled a lot with you. But I know that you've traveled a lot. And I've also, thanks be to God, I mean, I've had great opportunities now to see Loads of parts of the world, [00:01:00] um, and there's no doubt.

I mean, people say that travel broadens you, you know, it broadens. It does, doesn't it? I mean, it opens you up to cultures and experiences and enriching all sorts of enrichments. As long as you're not hanging around airports, waiting for late planes. But, um, But then, when you present a travel show for ten years, you get to, um, not alone do all that, but you just get to all the dream destinations that people like me never got to, but would love to get to.

Mary Kennedy: So, that's a hint. Um, our guest is Kathryn Thomas, has visited more than a hundred countries with No Frontiers, and she is the Talented, successful, hardworking, uh, it's not just about no frontiers. We've had Operation Transformation, Winning Streak, The Voice of Ireland, Ireland's Fittest Family. Uh, this is a career that has spanned more than two decades.

And as well as that, she's a business owner because for about 10 years now, um, Kathryn has been running her fitness and wellness retreat, Pure Results.

Mary McAleese: Wow.

[00:02:00] Kathryn Thomas, you're really very welcome. We're delighted. Mary and I are just delighted to have you here. Um, you know, without a shadow of a doubt, you're one of the country's best known faces, best loved presenters, best known voices.

You're so welcome to Allenwood. Great to have you here.

Kathryn Thomas: So lovely to be here. And I'm just delighted. And when Mary, when you asked me to come on, I said, and I haven't done a whole lot of podcasts. And I said, if there's two women, I'm going to sit down and have a chat with. It is the two of you, so I'm delighted.

Mary Kennedy: Well, absolutely delighted. Sound is a pound.

Kathryn Thomas: Aww.

Mary McAleese: But you know, looking at your career and the stuff that you've got involved in, a lot of it very innovative. A lot of it takes a lot out of you. Yeah. You know, a lot out of you. It's not like the two of us sitting here, you know, with our bus passes chatting to each other.

Kathryn Thomas: Oh, come on. Now, what you ladies have achieved, come on. I actually should start by saying, right, I'm Starting with you, Mary Kennedy, in 1995, I was in RTE doing work experience. Um, and you at that time were getting set, if I'm not mistaken, [00:03:00] to do the Eurovision in the point? Yes, that's right, 1995. 1995?

Mary Kennedy: Yes.

Kathryn Thomas: So, um, so from the get go, you were a big inspiration for me and, you know, I watched you over the years and, um, yeah, and you always have been.

So I just think you're fabulous. And then you, Mary McAleese. What did I do on you? No, well, the first time I met you, actually. It was in, uh, it was at the IFTAs.

Mary McAleese: Oh, gosh yea..

Kathryn Thomas: And I, we were, I was presenting an award, and you were presenting an award. We were backstage, well, you were President of Ireland at the time, so you were obviously there in that capacity.

But I sat down beside, uh, Martin. I sat down beside your husband. And he Had just had that awful tragedy in the family, what, his

Mary McAleese: cousin. At the airport. At the airport. Cork airport. Yeah. Where his cousin died.

Kathryn Thomas: And um, and I, and I had a chat with him that night and about two weeks later he, he invited me to the Oris.

Oh yeah. And um, and I sat beside him that night and that was the first time I'd been in the Oris and I went, [00:04:00] I did a couple of garden parties for you. You did. And my nana, before my nana passed away, she got there as well. Oh, God love her. Yeah, so I was delighted. Anyway, funny story on that night with the, um, with the iftas.

Um, There was, the lock on the toilet door. So backstage, we were backstage and the lock on the toilet door was broken. So I'm ready, getting ready to go on. I think you'd already been on, you'd done your thing. And, uh, anyway, I was waiting to go in and open the door and the security guard said, listen, the lock for whatever reason is broken.

And it was a wheelchair accessible toilet. So the toilet was a long way, about five meters away from the door. Anyway, I'm in, right? And I'm practicing my little speech in the mirror. While I'm sitting on the toilet. And I'm going, you know, and the nominees for blah, blah, blah and the next thing, the door opens and who's standing there?

Pierce Brosnan. Oh my goodness. So he opened the door and he went Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. So that was what I remember. I remember having a chat [00:05:00] with Martin McAleese that night and I remember James Bond walking in when I was sitting on the jacks. Ah, no, no. So that was my, that was my memories of that night.

Anyways, so. And Kathryn, you've got your own ifta. Yes I do! That was a proud moment. That was a proud moment, yeah. I can't remember. It was TV Presenter of the Year from what I'm, if I'm not mistaken. And that was, I can't even remember what year it was. It was the year that we did it, they did it in the Gaiety.

Um, and yeah, she was delighted. Yeah, it's a nice recognition. Yeah it mantelpiece at home? I have it on the mantelpiece at home, yes. Along with a couple of other. Uh, bits and bobs as well. So yeah, no, it takes pride of place for sure.

Mary McAleese: For sure. When you were wee, when you were a youngster. Um, uh, just, you know, growing up at home.

Kathryn Thomas: Yeah.

Mary McAleese: Um, where, was all this within your thinking? Yes. Is this what your parents said? Oh, she's always going to be on the stage. She's always going to be in the middle of drama. I

Kathryn Thomas: was [00:06:00] always performing. I did speech and drama from as long as I can remember. I, anytime my parents had people in, I was up on a table.

I was up in the windowsill. Any, any opportunity for somebody to watch me. Um, and I had great ambitions. I wanted to be an actress. Loved drama and even when I went to secondary school, I loved my speech and drama. And I was okay academically. I wouldn't have been, you know, top of the class, but I was good at drama.

Um, and loved it and did a couple of auditions for Roddy Doyle back in the day. Um, and yeah, so that was where the kind of, um, Acting was where I wanted to go and my parents being my parents said you can get into acting but as long as you have a piece of paper behind you. Something in your back pocket.

Something in the back pocket. Um, as many parents will kind of, you know, we're the same in many families, um, and so I did um, arts in UCD. Wanted to do communications in DCU, didn't get the points, went into arts in UCD and then went in, I was a runner. for loads of different TV companies around [00:07:00] town and I said, Oh, do you know what?

If I can get in that way, I could start in Fair City. So I could start in Donnybrook and I'll end up in Hollywood. And I've never left Donnybrook. So, that's, uh, that's the, but yeah, I mean, got into television and it was a very different because in TV, you're, you're, you're, yourself, you know, whereas acting is all about, you know, taking on a different character.

Um, but yeah, no, loved once I started in TV, loved it and never looked back. And you were so young when you took on

Mary Kennedy: No

Kathryn Thomas: Frontiers, you were 21 or something, right? I was 21, but I started before that, I was, I did three years. Yeah, I was 18, 19. I did a TV show called Wrap It with Jason Sherlock. It was a sports program.

And, uh, I did that for three years. And, you know, we travelled all over Ireland, all different schools, um, talking to kids about sport. Uh, we, first time I was ever in America was with that show. Uh, first time I was ever in Australia, South Africa. So we travelled with that, that program. And, uh, it was amazing.

And Jason Sherlock at the time was playing for Dublin. [00:08:00] He was like the rock star of sport. He was amazing. Um, and I wouldn't have been that sporty. You know, I would have been okay in school, but I wouldn't have played, you know, at any sort of competitive level in the way that he did. So it was always the joke between us, you know, he would always do the serious sports interviews with, you know, if it was David Beckham, or if we were going away, he'd do them.

And they'd have me jumping out of planes or diving with great white sharks. Which in a way sort of set the scene then for No Frontiers coming after that because I had kind of

Mary Kennedy: created this

Kathryn Thomas: persona of extreme sports girl. Then No Frontiers, the whole backpacking thing was just exploding onto the scene.

Use It had opened in Dublin, people were doing their year away, they were doing their Southeast Asia trips, so it was that kind of time when that was just becoming kind of like a rite of passage for people and they needed somebody to put a backpack on and head off to travel and I got that opportunity for ten years.

Where did you get the confidence from? You know, just to walk away

Mary McAleese: from a university course, [00:09:00] which your parents had said, you know, that's, that's the important thing. Get that behind you. You'll never, you know, you'll never, you'll never be short of a job if you've got the degree. You walked away from all that.

Kathryn Thomas: Yeah, but I knew, I kind of just said, I'd take a year out. So that was my line to my granny. It was my line to my parents. It was my line. I'll take a year out and I can go back. I'll just defer for a year. And I thought that's what I would do. And then once I started, I just knew there was no going back. And once you're working, I mean, I was always very independent anyway.

Um, my parents sort of instilled that in all of us. We were very independent. Um, my dad runs his own business. Uh, we were working since we were 13. So, you know, so we, I, we all had that sort of work ethic, if you like. And so the, the, the novelty and the beauty of being employed, traveling, having my own money, being able to pay my own rent, you know, so I never had to ask my dad for a penny after.

So it was great that I had that independence that early on, you know?

Mary Kennedy: Yeah, well, and also the adventurous, the free spirit. And, [00:10:00] um, you know, like, it sounds like the most glamorous of jobs. No Frontiers, but it probably wasn't.

Kathryn Thomas: I wouldn't say it was the most glamorous, but was it the best job? Really? A hundred percent.

Oh my God, it was amazing. Like, You know, when I think back, like, my friends were in college, and there was six of us living in a house in Rathmines at the time, and I would be taken off with my bag on my back, and I'd be gone for three weeks to Africa, or we'd be gone to Southeast Asia, or we'd be gone to Papua New Guinea, or wherever we'd go, and I'd come back, and, you know, and it was pot noodles, and down to a pub in Rathmines for a few pints on a Friday or whatever.

Um, so, I suppose it was, it was, It was amazing because we were, I was given this opportunity. And to be honest for, I would say for the first two years, again, you're kind of pinching yourself going, is this my job? You know, and I'd sort of rolled three years doing the sports show, which allowed me travel, which kind of gave me the, the, the love of travel, um, [00:11:00] to then go into something like this.

And then, you know, I suppose I, I really said this could be a career for me, you know, and the beauty of working the way we worked was that we worked with different directors. different cameramen, different camerawomen, um, and so everybody had their own style. So actually over the years, then it allowed me to get into producing my own stories.

Um, so it gave me a little bit more ownership of it as well. But, you know, starting at 21 and travelling around the world at that time, no mobile phones, I can't believe I'm somebody who says that now, do you know who I am? No mobile. And my dad going, where are you off to? And I said, oh, we're off to, myself and Judy, we're off to Africa for three weeks.

300 quid in your back pocket. But it

Mary Kennedy: must be an

Kathryn Thomas: education in

Mary Kennedy: itself to be going to those kinds of places. Oh my god.

Kathryn Thomas: Yeah, I mean, it was hugely educational. You do a lot of the research before you went. There was a lot of Lonely Planet books. Um, again, you know, we were trying to liaise with the tourist boards.

Again, you know, you're, you're staying in the [00:12:00] office till 11 or 12 at night to ring down to Australia before you go. So there wasn't the same level of communication and ease that we have now. But, um, my, primarily I started to do the backpacking, um, role. So, you know, the first couple of years I was in South America, we were in Colombia, Venezuela, we were in Southeast Asia.

Um, so it was literally sleeping in hostels, sleeping on train tracks, uh, like it's not on the train tracks, but sleeping in train stations. Um, we did a whole trip right across Russia, down into outer Mongolia, into China. And we took the train from New York to San Francisco, The whole way across Amtrak, you know, so you're seeing so many different countries, so many different cultures.

Um, as a 21 year old, which just opened your eyes to the

Mary McAleese: big world out there. Which stays with you even today? Are there any that particularly have stayed with you that have just lodged deep?

Kathryn Thomas: Uh, probably Papua New Guinea, I would say, [00:13:00] because again, that was one of the later shows that we did. As we had progressed over the years, say six, seven years of No Frontiers, I had then, they, they, I took over as lead presenter.

So in a way I started as the, you know, the combat wearing, eyebrow pierced, nose pierced, backpacker. And then they asked me, so they, all the piercings had to come out. And I remember being taken into Dublin to, and, and, you know, and I had to get a wardrobe to get like a fancy dress, you know? And so, and then.

the sort of remit change that we would do half of the backpacking stuff and then the others you could be doing family holidays in Lanzarote. You could be doing the Burj Al Arab. You could be doing, you know, trips to Australia, Tanzania, whatever. So it, it became a more varied job. But the ones that stay with me, the ones that are truly me, the ones that were truly are the ones that I was started out doing.

And that is the [00:14:00] adventure. It's the independent. travel. It's, it is the trip, like trips to Papua New Guinea, um, trips to Mexico, uh, and Papua New Guinea was, uh, probably one that stays in my head the most because I had produced the whole thing. We had tried to get there for so many years and RTE and, you know, my exec producer were like, but why would anyone want to go to Papua New Guinea?

And I said, but I remember my Nana, before she passed away, she lived in Rohini, and she was like, I love the fact that I can sit in my chair. in this sitting room, in Rohini, and you bring the world to me. I don't have to go, you bring the world to me. So I'm finding out about these places that I would never go.

And so my argument all the time, back into Orti and back into to Frontier, where like, it's not necessarily about putting stuff out all the time where people go, it's about educating people about where they might not have heard of. It's not just about where you're going to go on your package holiday or your family holiday, it's about actually bringing the wider world into people's sitting rooms.

Mary Kennedy: And it's hopefully the people who get to understand and appreciate different cultures [00:15:00] because they are also different.

Mary McAleese: Yeah. Yeah, I'm finding that fascinating because one of my classmates way back in the day when I was in college, who only stayed in Queen's Law School a short time and then moved to Scotland.

She became a Supreme Court judge in Papua New Guinea.

Mary Kennedy: Okay. Wee girl

Mary McAleese: from Derry. Wow. Yeah, Supreme Court judge in Papua New Guinea. And she became a great champion of the women in prison, of which there were a lot.

Kathryn Thomas: Yes. A

Mary McAleese: lot.

Kathryn Thomas: Very dangerous, like Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea. Um, I don't know statistically, back then it was the most dangerous city in the world, even after Mexico City.

Um, and when we got out there, actually back in the day, yeah, so Dennis O'Brien had set up Digicel out there. Yes. So there was a big Irish, you know, 60, 70 Irish out there living in Port Moresby. And just by chance, when I think back, we flew in to Port Moresby, which is the capital of Papua New Guinea. We landed in and we're standing at the baggage carousel and I'm looking at all the Digicel posters around the place.

I said, Jesus, he's after getting out to Papua New Guinea as well. I knew he'd expanded into the [00:16:00] Caribbean, but I was like, here as well. And we, he happened, Dennis O'Brien had landed, he was there, he happened to be walking through the airport. And I would have known him a small bit from the Special Olympics, um, which I was involved with back in the day.

And he said, Jesus, what, like, he said, what are you doing here? He said, don't tell me you're here with a travel show, with the travel show. I said, yeah, yeah, yeah. And he said, do you know how dangerous it is? And where have you, security, and what have you planned, and whatever. He was worried for us, being there.

Was he right to be worried? I mean, did you encounter much in the way of trouble? We Yeah, I mean, it was quite hairy. We had been going up to an area called the Gulf Province. In fairness to Dennis, he had given us the name of his primary security guy out there who looked after all of his employees. And he gave us a satellite phone, because he said if you're going up into the Gulf Province, you're going to need a satellite phone.

So, at that stage then, the director and the camera person, because of course I had organized all this and I had, like, done the itinerary. We were going to climb Mount Wilhelm, which is the highest mountain, and then we were going to go up to the Gulf [00:17:00] Province to go and find this tribe who had been cut off from the outside world.

They'd only ever witnessed or encountered, um, a Danish tribe. who'd been up there. So, for me, this was about going off the beaten track. For me, this was what travel was about. For me, you know, travel had changed so much from the time I'd started, I really wanted to kind of go to the last frontier. So Papua New Guinea was kind of, you know, Really getting off the beaten track and really stepping off the beaten track.

And anyway, yeah, we, we hiked for two or three days up to the, the Gulf province. There's only two major road networks in Papua New Guinea. They speak 800 different languages there. You know, so it's, it's very tribal. And, um, we were with six guides who we had hired from, from Port Moresby. It was an, uh, uh, uh, uh, company, a tourist company, travel company.

Anyway, they had stepped into land that day. Uh, they should not have been on. And, yeah, we were all trying to cross a river. We had all the bags, all the equipment. And the [00:18:00] river was, like, literally neck high. There was a rope going across. We were all going across. And so the camera crew went across this fast flowing river.

And they were going to the other side to set up the shot to take footage of me coming across. And there was only one, one guy stayed with me the other side. But the next thing from out of the field, if you like, just came this, all I could describe it as, as a holler. Um, and yeah, a tribal leader came out and he had a big machete and he was running at us.

Oh lord. And over there they had, they eat the, um, you know, the beetle nuts. So they all, everyone's teeth is red, it has that stained red. And he. He was coming for us, and I just went, Oh my God, this is where it's all going to end. It's where it's all going to finish. And I remember he was right. I just, and in that moment, you know, you kind of think, what do I do in that situation?

Do I run? How will I react? And I still question my reaction because I just saw him, he was coming at me and 10 meters, five meters, and I just put my head down and I [00:19:00] closed my eyes. I was freaking out. I was frozen with fear. I was rigid with fear. And I can just still remember when he was shouting and screaming in a, obviously, language that I didn't recognise.

And all of the spit was on my face. And I just knew he had this huge, big knife. And I just thought, this is the end of us. And in fairness, the guy that was with me, he couldn't even communicate with him because he was speaking a different language. Um, everything settled and after 10 or 15 minutes the rest of the crew came back across the river and and watches were given, all of our water supply had to be handed over, um, any cash that we had on us had to be handed over.

So it was just, it was one of those, um, one of those moments, and I, yeah, I often Sometimes you

Mary Kennedy: describe it very well, my

Kathryn Thomas: God. Yeah, well, I, but I, I kind of thought that I would react differently in a situation like that, and I didn't, you know. It was a

Mary McAleese: hijacking though, really, wasn't it? Yeah. I mean, all that screaming and ranting and roaring and the machete.

He was after, at the end of the day, he was after stuff. Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

Kathryn Thomas: Yeah. I mean, he saw us [00:20:00] come and,

Mary Kennedy: and Kathryn, as a woman who has travelled to all of these different countries and, you know, got some insight into the lives of women in other cultures, what kind of things have you learned?

And how has it kind of informed the way you envisage women?

Kathryn Thomas: Yeah, I mean, it's, it's, again, so, I'm so lucky to have had the opportunities that I've had. And when you start travelling at 21 and you travel for a decade, they're very formative years. So I grew up on the road. I grew up, I kind of became the woman that I am today.

Through the experiences that I have. And I have no doubt that it really made me the person that I am. Um, I would say boarding school, I was sent to boarding school when I was in second year. That kind of also, um, solidified our, my sense of independence. You were happy in that school, weren't you? I was really happy, I loved it.

You were as good as

Mary McAleese: my son. Yeah, yeah,

Kathryn Thomas: King's Hospital, it was brilliant. He loved it. I loved the [00:21:00] camaraderie, there was a big emphasis on sport, there was a big emphasis on drama. You, you know, you were given a lot of kind of, um, free reign in, you know, in one way. Um, now there was a lot of rules and regulations and boundaries that, um, didn't necessarily suit my personality.

Some teachers would say . Um, but, um, but yeah, it was, it was great, you know, because it did really harbor and, and, and push that sense of independence. And then as a woman, kind of, traveling in the way that I did, and one week you could be in the slums, you could be in the favelas in Brazil. The next week you could be, you know, hobnobbing in the Burj Al Arab, you know, seven star hotel.

Next thing you could be on a train going across America. You know, and so what it did was, very early on, really have me open my eyes to there is not one right way to live. You know, your culture isn't the only culture. Um, it really, especially travelling through Africa and South East Asia, Um, India, places like that where in a lot of places women were second class citizens.

Visiting a lot of [00:22:00] countries where women don't get the opportunity to vote. Um, so when I was coming back to Ireland actually it made me appreciate the city that I lived in, it made me appreciate. And like Dublin, like throughout all that time, you know, we'd had I remember my dad's business closing down.

Then I remember the Celtic Tiger and the madness and then the crash and all of that. But what it did was, yeah, I suppose, really make me fully understand very early on in life, um, how fortunate we are as women to live in this country, how fortunate we are to be able to vote. Like, when I think back, as I said, there was no real social media at the day.

I was swallowing around in a bikini, right, at 21, doing my pieces to camera. And I just think from a woman, from a body positive perspective now, I never really worried. what people thought of me. Did I have body hang ups? Did I have hang ups about how I looked? Of course, you know, I don't think there's any woman in their 20s who doesn't.

Do you have those anxious years and all that? Yes. But [00:23:00] it never got in the way of me presenting and doing my thing on camera, you know? And I wonder now, With the way that social media is now, I don't believe, and I genuine, genuinely don't believe I would've had the same career, the same enjoyment, the same love of it.

If, uh, social media was as prevalent back then mm-Hmm , because I was oblivious to people's, people's comments. I was oblivious to, um, you know, any nastiness that could have been said. I do remember probably about five or six years into my career going onto one of the old forums and going, looking for what people, which is.

Which is what happens now. And it's everywhere. But I do remember going in and reading those nasty comments. And horrible things about, you know, my body or what they were saying about me. But I, thankfully, was old enough, wise enough, educated enough, travelled enough, to go, God love them. You know what I mean?

And again, I'm so grateful that, uh, travel [00:24:00] gave me that education. I dropped out of college after, uh, My first year in UCD and I could never have had the education that I had with that job that I had and that 10 years traveling. Because also, like, I learned about the different ideals of beauty from around the world, right?

So, you could be in Brazil, and it's all boobs and bums, and that's what's rocking it in Brazil. You know, in Ethiopia, it's the length of your neck, how long your neck is. And out in Mongolia, it's how, the, the, how ruddy your cheeks are. The gorgeous cheeks. Yeah, and so there's not, and there's not one way to be strong.

You know what I mean? And so I traveled a lot with a girl called Judy Kelly and I traveled a lot with a director called Ruth Meehan. And it could just be the two of us away for a couple of weeks. And again, the emphasis when we went away, we did, we did seek out stories about women. We did seek out, you know, stories where we met women and where we were able to chat to them, where we were able to kind of see, get an insight into their life.

I've got two girls now. Um, and I just think the, the, [00:25:00] what travel can do for you, how it can educate you. I just think it's so important. And it's so important to know That there is no one way to live, you know, and that's what

Mary Kennedy: it taught me. Social media does put huge pressure on young women, doesn't it?

About a way to look and a way to be and all

Kathryn Thomas: these filters and stuff. It's mad. It's so dangerous. And look, it's the one thing that probably keeps me awake at night, being the mother of two girls. I have Ellie as six and Grace as two. And, you know, A lot of my friends are at the stage now where their kids are 12, 13, 14.

We were late to the table. Myself and Pádraig, we were I was quite late having kids. But I see the effect that it's having. I see the impact that it's having. I do believe, rightly or wrongly, that by the time my kids come to that age, there will be some sort of revolt. I think there'll be some kind of winding back from it.

Mary McAleese: Control, maybe.

Kathryn Thomas: I

Mary McAleese: don't know.

Kathryn Thomas: Yes, yeah,

Mary McAleese: yeah. Accountability maybe. Yeah,

Kathryn Thomas: yeah. None of which [00:26:00] exists currently. None of which exists. How it doesn't at this point, I don't know. I think it's, it's so dangerous. Um, and I just think even the amount of times, and I mean we have to be, I'm very, I have to be very mindful of it myself.

I do love Instagram. I love photos. I love photos of people's babies, and dogs, and travel, and all of that. Houses. Houses, or a nose inside someone's houses. I love it. and kind of catching up with people and seeing what they're at, you know, but I have to be very mindful of my own screen time with my girls, you know?

And so they'll hear, you know, in our house, it's no phones at the table, no phones in the bed, no phones in the bedroom. Um, and we do try and be, and mindfully practice that, um, because I think it's important. And, you know, I'm such an advocate of kids getting out and about, of getting involved in sport, getting involved in, um, whatever activities it is, um, finding your thing.

Like, I'm really passionate about that for girls and boys. Um, and I suppose, you know, I would have seen a lot of that through my work on Operation [00:27:00] Transformation, how important sport is. If you're not sporty, what else is it that, that's your thing? And I think it's really important, um, in this day and age and in the day and age of social media, that we really kind of protect our kids.

I mean, I remember my Like, you know, you're going to drama or you're going to piano or you're going and you'd be like, you know, but in fairness, she a teacher herself, you know, and she let you away with nothing, you know, and now I am so grateful for it, you know. What kind of mommy are you? What kind of mummy am I?

I think I'm a mum that's fun, I'm fairly strict, which I cannot believe, you know, considering the child that I was. Because my father said to me, right, when Ellie came along, and Ellie is the cut of her father, She is very, you know, she's, she's very concerned about other people, she's quite, um, she's quite quiet, she likes to step back, she, um, she's a very kind person, um, and then, and, and she does [00:28:00] everything right, like, she, she does not like breaking the rules, um, so even if I'm, like, scooting up a bus lane, Ellie will go, get out of the bus lane, you know, you're not allowed to, you know, she's like her father like that, and, um, And my father couldn't believe it, you know, because she eats, she sleeps, she does everything.

And then Grace came along, and Grace is the two year old, and my father said, Well, there's karma now. You were gonna, you were gonna get it handed back to you at some point. So she's high octane, she's full energy, and, uh, yeah. I mean, she likes to be places that she shouldn't be. She is always found where she shouldn't be.

Is she a climber? She's a climber. Oh, God. She's a runner away from you in, uh, At every opportunity, supermarkets, airports, playgrounds. Um, you know, so, um, but I love the fact that they're so different. Like every parent, you know, you celebrate the differences. For me, it's, it's always about being respectful.

It's always about being kind. It's always about having good manners. And then it's, it's always about having

Mary Kennedy: a bit of fun as well. Okay, and health because I mean, [00:29:00] having done Operation Transformation for so many years and now with Pure Results, you've got to have health, it has to be, you know, very important for you.

Kathryn Thomas: Yeah, it's a really important part of my life and you know, I did Operation Transformation for 14 years. So, again, a bit like No Frontiers, um, it's like the bookends, you know, I did a decade on that show and then jumped from that to Operation Transformation. And I don't think you can work on a show like Operation Transformation and for it not to impact you.

And the education that it gave me over the years, working with all of the different experts, um, and seeing the importance of, you know, the messaging that goes out there of, you know, getting active, getting out there. Yeah. Mental health, physical health. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I was

Mary McAleese: just listening this morning on the radio, um, as we were coming here, there's a talk about the number of children in Ireland today who are obese.

Changing Times, the Allenwood [00:30:00] Conversations. Proudly sponsored by Kildare County Council.

Kathryn Thomas: I'm very passionate about, you know, promoting that lifestyle message that we need to get our kids moving, that we need to get, um, kids eating good food, good diet. And look, it's no, you know, it's no surprise that with the amount of lifestyle related illnesses and diseases that we are seeing in this country at the moment, Um, the obesity crisis, like, it, it, when you look at how it goes in parallel with the processed food industry and, and how, you know, and screens.

How have we got the message though, Kathryn?

Mary McAleese: Well, I'm, when you're, you're out shopping as a mama, you're out buying stuff in the supermarkets and,

Kathryn Thomas: you

Mary McAleese: know, it's even, there was a, there was a time when they would take all the sweet stuff away, but I think they're all back again, right at the, right in your face.

They're right

Kathryn Thomas: in your face. Right in your face. They are right at eye level. Yup. And I think there is a perception out there that, you know, buying processed food, um, is cheaper than buying whole foods. And over the years on Operation Transformation, we've proved time and time again that that's not the case.

You [00:31:00] know, you can buy sensibly, you can buy healthily. Does it take a little bit more work? A hundred percent. But when you look at the issues that we have in this country, and I just think it's very difficult. It's very difficult for kids. It's very difficult for adults. To maintain a healthy weight in this country.

I do believe that I think you know, it is When it's thrown at you, it's marketed at us. It is like, it's so damaging.

Mary Kennedy: And yet we're also kind of reluctant to call it out because you can, you know, you can get into trouble for body shaming and things like that. But if a child is obese or an adult is obese, it's a problem.

And you're going to have doctor's bills. Yeah. And they're going to

Mary McAleese: get the social media stuff and they're going to get the nasty stuff from creators. I mean, their lives are going to be made miserable.

Kathryn Thomas: Yeah. And look at Operation Transformation. Yeah. We were very focused on weight loss back in the day. It was all about weight.

As society changed, as, you know, the show changed, messaging changed, [00:32:00] and for us it was all about health. And we followed a, you know, WHO, all of that messaging. All of our meal plans were, uh, were WHO approved, if you like. Um, and, um, you know, the way medical science has evolved now, like you look at the, all of the weight loss jobs and education and how that is evolving and how that's changing.

And I think that will be revolutionary. I do believe it. I think it's coming quicker than we can even prepare for it. Um, and I think there is a place for it because, you know, now we know that obesity is recognized as a disease, um, and that trying to lose weight and trying to maintain that weight loss, if you are somebody who does suffer with obesity.

But what I don't think we're talking about enough and and what's worrying is in 10 years time You know there's a lot of the the doctors that are saying we probably won't have an obesity problem in the world with the way the These drugs how quick and fast they're coming but you know, you've got to look at the flip side [00:33:00] of that Are we going to get to a place where we're medicating?

Are we going to get to a place where we're medicating our teens? You look at what they're doing in Japan, how they've reversed their obesity epidemic in Japan, purely by looking at the processed food end of things, purely monitoring their lifestyle, looking at kids in school. And all of the kids have home cooked meals.

It's really interesting when you look at the studies that are that are going on there. Um, and there is so much that is preventable. And what would you

Mary McAleese: change at the moment here, for example, you know, in terms of the physical and mental well being of teens? What do you think we need to do?

Kathryn Thomas: Well, I think it needs to start in the schools.

I think it needs to start, um, I think there needs to be legislation. I think there needs to be a ban on all processed foods in schools. I think certainly it's getting to a place now where they're impacting, like, for example, in our school, um, their Ellie gets a hot lunch, um, every day. So, I think it needs to start Gone are the lunch boxes now with the sandwiches and bits and pieces.

In fairness, they had their healthy food [00:34:00] policy in then that there was no treats allowed in the schools. A lot of the schools are on board with that. But I do think that needs to be rolled out across the board. Now she gets her hot lunch in school. Um, so I think it needs to start there. I think it needs to start with education in the classroom as well.

It's a bit like, you know, going back to the home economics end of things. You need, cooking is a life skill. I think it's important that children are taught that in school. I think that's a very good point. I think that needs to be brought in. I think, you know, home economics, you can choose to opt in or opt out in secondary schools.

For men and boys, I think it's as important, they know to cook a hundred percent. Um, and I think it comes down to. Looking at taxes in the, in the supermarkets, you know, you know. We've had a sugar tax,

Mary McAleese: but it's not really, doesn't seem to be impacting the way we had hoped it might. So then address it again, you know what I mean?

Go back.

Kathryn Thomas: Go back, like. Go back. You know, I think. That didn't work, so what can work? What can we do? And you know,

Mary Kennedy: the, the, um, the results are, are so [00:35:00] uplifting. I mean, having watched Operation Transmitted, I was a big fan. It was a great start to the new year. The confidence and the self esteem that these people managed to nurture as they went on their eight week journey or whatever.

It just, it has such positive

Kathryn Thomas: effects on mental health as well as physical health. And that was where You know, the messaging went all the time that it really didn't come down, you know, for, for a lot of people, it was about weight, they wanted to lose their few pounds or whatever, but it was where their head was at the end.

And 90%, I would say 95 percent of the leaders on OT, if you ask them, would say, It was the mental health change. It was the confidence. It was the education. It was the understanding how the ripple effect in the home, the ripple effect in school, the ripple effect in their community. I mean, I have been to every, uh, parish in Ireland, over 14 years, in January and February and [00:36:00] getting out with people walking, all the yellow jackets you know the GAA getting involved with irelandlightsup where they lit up GAA pitches in rural Ireland um, to make it safe for people to walk um, and Like, I'm so proud of the work we did on it.

Do I feel that it was probably time for me to move on? I was about to ask that. How do you feel that it's finished now? Yeah, I do. Like, I'd done 14 years, you know, and I felt that I brought everything that I could to it, you know, and that I didn't feel that there was a whole lot more, um, that I could do creatively and from a production perspective.

I mean, it felt new every year because we were getting five new leaders on, and, People were getting an insight, and that's very rare on television now, where you get inside somebody's home, and inside somebody's head, and inside people's relationships, and inside people's parenting, and inside people's work, you know?

So, the bravery of the people to come on and do the show, I mean, I wouldn't do it in a month of Sundays. Like, have cameras in, and have your, you know, the relationship and the screaming and the [00:37:00] shouting that goes on in my house and whatever else, you know? It's a very brave thing to do, but it's a very admirable thing to do, and that's why it worked, and that's why people connected with it, because you're seeing ordinary people doing ordinary things and making extraordinary changes.

You know, and that's why. It's not a message

Mary McAleese: that you think is worth repeating that Operation Transformation is gone now, but transformation is possible.

Kathryn Thomas: Yes, 100%. And I think it's important that that health messaging continues in whatever guise that it does. Um, particularly people love it January and February.

As I said, I've had so many messages from people. I said, get involved in your communities. Get out there. The GAA are there. There's lots of clubs. You do not have to be scared to go into a gym. There's mother and baby groups. We are social creatures, you know. We are social creatures. We are meant to be social together.

It really is just about incorporating movement into your day and finding something that you like to do. Like, I love to dance. I absolutely adore to dance. Oh, [00:38:00] you could do Dancing

Mary Kennedy: with the Stars now next year. Listen, I

Kathryn Thomas: would adore it. I mean, I know you have to Oh, put the message out now, Kathryn. Listen, don't worry, Larry has been on it no more.

A hundred times. But I love to dance. I just love the freedom of it. I've always loved it. And even travelling around the world and seeing how important it is, and how much ingrained into different cultures and communities it is, whether it's in Japan or And whether that's in Africa, um, and I just love that freedom.

So, I mean, I dance with my girls every day. I did this thing during COVID called a dance a day for 30 days. I dance with my kids in the kitchen. I mean, once they know that they can hear the music come on, they know that I'll be like What do you dance to? Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez. I think I was Jennifer Lopez in a former life.

Um, or anything. I think a lot of people, especially with the way that we've gone with social media, that it has to be, you know, the tight neon leggings, the perfect body, you know, for, and that's who exercises. That's bullshit. Like exercise is about, it's for everybody. It is [00:39:00] about movement. It is about moving your body.

It is about finding something that you want to do. Um, And we see that with Pure Results. We have men and women of all ages, all shapes and sizes. It doesn't matter.

Mary Kennedy: And welcoming the happy hormones. Exactly. Because it does lift your

Kathryn Thomas: spirits,

Mary Kennedy: doesn't it? A hundred

Kathryn Thomas: percent. A hundred percent. What's

Mary McAleese: happening with Pure Results?

That was a big change for you, wasn't it? Becoming your own boss, really.

Kathryn Thomas: Yeah. Um, well, So I set that up 10 years ago and in the land of television, it goes kind of quiet in the summer. And I looked at what I was good at and what I, my interests and my interests were in travel, um, and my interests were in fitness.

So I said, why not combine the two together? And when I had been working on No Frontiers, I used to go to these, I might stay on if the crew all flew home and I'd be traveling on my own for, um, a week or two. And if you got bored with your own company or you felt like Billy No Mates, you'd just book into a retreat, whether it was a boxing retreat or a yoga retreat or whatever it was.

And so there was nothing really like that here. There was lots of yoga [00:40:00] retreats, but there was nobody really at that time doing fitness retreats, fun fitness retreats where there was lots of games involved. And so what I wanted to do was create what I called a summer camp for adults. So that sense of making exercise fun again, being in an environment where you were away from your kids, you were away from work, you were away from the four walls.

And very quickly, like, what people were saying back to us was, God, I haven't been outside this much since I was a child. Rain, hail, or shine, we were outside, you know? And so, we were hiking, we were doing assault courses, we were doing yoga, we were doing circuits classes, we were doing boxercise. And so you could do four or five classes a day.

Um, and as I said, it's for every level. So you don't have to be the fittest person in the world. There's people who haven't ever done any exercise that come to us. There's people who run marathons that come to us, but like the classes are designed and the trainers work with you in that you give your own 100%.

And that's going to be different to yours, Mary. It's going to be different to yours. [00:41:00] It's going to be different to mine. And what I also find as well, really interesting, we're 90 percent women who come to my retreats. And if you have women together, 25 women together for a week or a weekend, but particularly if you do a five day or seven day and people are there for all different reasons, everyone is bricking it arriving because they don't want to be the unfittest.

They don't want to be the oldest. They don't want to be the, you know, the reason I still do it, I suppose, because when I started this, I didn't have kids. So, you know, it's a lot of work. Um, but I love it. And the reason I love it is because at the end of that week, you see progression, you see confidence and you see people not beating themselves up and not talking negatively about their body, their abilities, because they, you've spent a week with, with a group of women and While somebody might be great, you know, wrecking out the squats and are extremely fit, somebody who's maybe not so fit or, you know, not so great in the classes will sit down and tell a story over [00:42:00] dinner.

An inspiring nugget that sits with somebody for the week. And so everyone has their own strengths. So, Kathryn, you must have a good business head on you as well. Did you get that from your dad? I like organizing. I'm quite the organizer. Um, and I like. stuff to have a beginning, middle and an end, you know?

And also, I suppose, being freelance for as long as I have and working in the industry that I'm in, in television, it has been amazing. Um, I've worked in TV, I've worked in radio, I've never not worked. Um, which is, which I'm proud of, you know, when you start in TV at 19 years of age, it's been very good to me, and RT have been very good to me.

But there, you know, there is a sense that, yeah. You're waiting on other people's decisions. So your career is kind of waiting on whether a show will get a commission or not, whether it'll run another year, whether it'll run another series. And so, You know, this, what this does is give me a little more control and you're [00:43:00] making decisions for you and you're not kind of waiting, waiting on decisions for anybody else.

Um, and so I've been able to do the two in tandem, uh, and they've both been great, you know, and, and, you know, am I a broadcaster? I would say first and foremost, yes. Um, I absolutely love it. I love the shows, but do I love the fact that I've created a business where I'm seeing change and people on, you're kind of.

can drive away and go, you know what, I think that person has had a shift.

Mary Kennedy: Um,

Kathryn Thomas: and that's really, uh, powerful. And that's, I'm very proud of that.

Mary McAleese: What do you think about where the whole television and media industry is right now? Because if ever there's a case of something in a state of flux or change.

Kathryn Thomas: Well, I mean, this podcast is called Changing Times.

And I mean, when you think about the change. in that whole media landscape from when I started at 19, you know, um, how, you know, how the digital landscape has changed and, and moved on, how podcasting has [00:44:00] become, you know, the media platform that, that is, is dominating, um, how, RTE has changed so much. Um, and yeah, I mean, it's, it has never been in such a state of flux.

I mean, I'm kind of waiting like everybody else seeing what's going to happen. Where are we going to be? Are the government getting behind RTE? You know, so we're waiting like everybody else. And you know, all, what I would say is, you know, I've been to the States and I've been to the UK and I've been in the ITV I've been over to the States.

in LA for various meetings. What we produce here in this country in terms of television, I think is phenomenal. I think the standard of programming that happens in this country is phenomenal. And the level of workmanship in terms of the crews that we have here is unbelievable. And so that's not going to change, you know, and I just I think the fact that we have so many talented people, um, [00:45:00] ready to work, um, ready to make great programming and looking at the different platforms, whether that's streaming, um, you know, and I think that's the way that we're going as well.

So, you know, like Ellie, um, the other day, it was so funny. I went into her school, you know, and they had all the little pictures in the window of what their parents did for a job, whether that was at home or whatever else. And She had Pádraig, Pádraig is the Director of Food and Beverage in Kildare Village, but she had him carrying a tray, so he was a waiter.

And then I was, she had me, a picture of me with my head on the television. Um, and Netflix was written across my head. Oh lord. So she has no idea, she's never watched a TV channel. So they'll never watch TV the way that we watch TV. They'll never have that, you know, and that's just changed. So I think the fact that we all have to, I mean we're embracing change, Certainly in, in, in the independent sector as well in terms of programming that will be, that will go straight to streaming, that will go straight to the player, um, that will go straight to YouTube.

And I think that's the way the world is going.

Mary Kennedy: Is there [00:46:00] any program that you haven't presented thus far that you would like to present and work on?

Kathryn Thomas: I would, love to do travel again. I would love to do travel again. I would love to get into the documentary space as well. So we've got a couple of exciting things that we're working on.

Um, and I think that happens, you know, as a 45 year old mother of two now, um, I'm, there's lots of areas that I'm interested in, in terms of the health space, in terms of where we're going. And I, I would love to kind of get into the, the, the documentary end of things as well. But travel for me has never left.

You know, I was lucky enough to do that camper van show that we were talking about before we came on air. Yes.

Mary Kennedy: You and your daughter.

Kathryn Thomas: Yeah, we did two seasons of Travelling Around Ireland in a camper van. Um, and you see there's an appetite for it there. Again, I think when you look at what's been broadcast on RTE, when you look at what's been broadcast on Channel 4, um, on the BBC as well, Um, and I think it's sort of, [00:47:00] you know, I think we're all looking at travel with a purpose now as well.

Um, so the opportunity to, to maybe go, go back to my, my roots as well is something that I'd be, uh, interested in kind of developing as well.

Mary Kennedy: Yeah, well it's such an educational pursuit, isn't it? There's so much to learn when you go travelling. Yeah,

Mary McAleese: but then you get it, you get the push back, you know.

traveling, linked to climate change, linked to carbon use, um, you know, that kind of flattens your desire. Um, and then you look at the other side of it, the politics of the moment. That seems to, unfortunately, um, give space, particularly through social media, to people with really, I would say, really very dysfunctional minds, is all I can describe it as.

Very scary people. Disordered minds, maybe, is a good way of describing them. Um, does that bother you when you're thinking of the kids growing up in that, in that world?

Kathryn Thomas: Yes, yes, and it is [00:48:00] something, as I said, you know, when it comes to what you're witnessing on social media, you know, where it's like, it's, it's all, not that it's even shocking anymore, because it's just so part of that whole social media world, you know, um, like I said, I do think that there will be a shift.

I do think there will be regulation. I think there has to be, I think legislation will have to come in. You can go down, and this is it, and I, actually we were having this conversation on Saturday, myself and my girlfriends. You know, you can get sucked into it, or you can just keep truckin You know, and keep truckin by, you know, staying, not even staying in your lane, but, you know, Surrounding yourself with the people that you love.

Surrounding yourself with people who make sense. Surrounding, yourself with people who you follow online, who actually have a legitimate profile, you know, all of the anonymous stuff, you know, and I, and I purposely don't go there even with [00:49:00] Operation Transformation because there was a very small minority of people who were very anti that show.

There was a lot of false narrative around it. And you can go down that road and you can get sucked in, uh, for what, you know? And the way that I did, the way that I looked at that and, and, and the way that I would kind of advise my own kids is if you can stand over the work that you do. You know, you're working with the great people.

You are working with qualified experts in their field, uh, in operation transformation. It was in general practice, in nutrition, in psychotherapy, you know, these are qualified experts. There's a lot of people online who call themselves experts, who are not experts at anything. And I think, um, it's important that you, you know, if the work that you can stand over, if it's true to what you believe, and if it's true to your heart, um, Then you can move forward with it.

You know,

Mary Kennedy: Kathryn, you mentioned your girlfriends there. Yeah. And I know your women friends are very important to you. Is it true you actually had 10 brides [00:50:00] mates? 10

Kathryn Thomas: bridesmaid . What? Well, thank I had, I had nine bridesmaids and one bridesman. Oh my goodness. Yes. Oh my goodness.

Mary McAleese: How did that color back? All in the matching dresses.

Kathryn Thomas: They didn't all have matching dresses. No, they all wore their own. It was kind of the same colour palette, but they could choose what they wanted. Some were in skirts and tops, some were in dresses. Uh, Shane wore a suit, obviously. Um, What were you thinking? What were you thinking? Well, you can't have this crowd and not have this crowd.

And you can't, you know, ask this one and not ask that one. They were all my school friends as well. You know, they were all my school friends. So, um, I have two, uh, groups of friends who would be my best friends, but they're in different groups, if you like. I just, I mean, my women have been with me for a long time.

And my girlfriends are extremely important to me. And, honestly, like, I have made so many friends over the years, but my best friends are still my school friends. So, that's important. We've been through everything together. We've been through loss, we've been through happiness, [00:51:00] we've been through career highs and lows.

We've been through, um, family loss together. We've been through all of those milestones. And so, um, I'm very lucky to have them. And there wasn't not completely mental though on the day. Uh, do you know what it was? Well, Poric was like, I don't even know that many people catching. How am I going to have that on my side?

So he has to have 10 people. No, he didn't. No. I mean, we walked down together. Um, I mean, it absolutely bucketed rain on the day. And by the time the 10 of them, They got a beautiful sunny walk down into, we had this tent pitched in the garden in Kilkee Castle. And all of the bridesmaids got down and then like myself and Pádraig and Ellie and my dad were all coming down together and sure the heavens opened.

But no, look it was, it was a great day. Yeah, so, so. Ten of them. Ten of them. Ten of them. How did you manage to get them in your own photograph? Um, I had a great photographer called Shane, who was in charge of that, and my sister actually, she's a real organizer when it comes to that, so she was in charge of that.

But yeah, that was, it was [00:52:00] a, it was a special day. It was a great day. Yeah.

Mary Kennedy: Wonderful, wonderful. When we were introducing you, uh, Kathryn, we talked about all of the, the programs that you've presented. Yeah. And you've got your pure results as well. How does the, the, the celebrity status sit with you?

Kathryn Thomas: I just don't even.

Court it, you know, I mean, since I was 19 I was on TV, but I've had, I think the Irish public are amazing in that, you know, it's not, um, maybe things have changed now, but, but certainly it's not something that you ever, it's not something that I ever feel. Like I don't feel like a celebrity at all. I mean, I know I have a public job, but I have never called myself a celebrity.

I don't think I am. You don't carry a roll of red carpet right with you. No, I don't. I don't. But it's, yeah. But it's, it's, I just think on television, you're not that, like, you'd know that. When you're working in RTE, it's not. You're working. You're working. And, and you're doing a job where your, your [00:53:00] role is to kind of, you know, bring people out or, or.

Facilitate. Facilitate, yeah. So, I mean, I don't think, like. Say like, Dermot, your, your nephew, dermo Kennedy, he's a celebrity in, in that, in the music world. But I don't, I've never, like, I don't think in television, in Ireland, maybe in the uk you know, profiles and everything, it's different. But here I don't, I've never kind of seen myself as that.

Mm-Hmm. . You know what I mean? Well, like we said at the beginning, your sound is a pound. Oh, you are. Thank you. You are. But I think it's your, the people that you work with keep you sound and the people that you hang around with keep, you sound like the. And that's what I'd also say about working in the freelance industry when you work on shows.

The crew become your family. Um, so working a decade on No Frontiers and working 14 years on Operation Transformation, it's not about me. It's actually a team of people that get the show up and on air. So, you're a very small wheel in a big cog. You might seem like a big wheel, you know, that you're the mouthpiece when it [00:54:00] goes out, but, you know what I mean?

You wouldn't be there if you didn't have a great producer, if you didn't have great cameras, if you didn't have great, If you didn't have people doing a great job, you know what I mean? So now that's not to say that you wouldn't, you know, get a fancy room every now and then because you were the presenter as part of the crew.

Um, but more often than not, the lads would be in the room with you having a gawk around and, uh, and hanging out. But, um, yeah, so it's a team. It's always been a team. And you know, unless everybody has given a hundred percent to their job and they're part of the job, the program won't be as good as it can be.

So everyone needs to give a hundred percent. And that's the way we've always. worked. That's what I've always viewed it anyway.

Mary Kennedy: Kathryn, the, the podcast is called Changing Times. And, um, it's a question we ask all the time. If there was one thing that you would like to see changed or would like to change, what would it be?

Kathryn Thomas: I think what we're seeing in the world at the moment, uh, the amount of suffering is, is awful. So I mean, [00:55:00] it maybe sounds cliched to say, you know, have some sort of change when it comes to world suffering. But I just think what we're seeing coming out of Gaza, I think seeing what's happening is so destructive.

It is so sad. It is beyond comprehension. You know, I think a lot of the imagery that we're seeing. So for me, it would be For particularly in that area of the world now for for those children those people not to be suffering in the way that they are

Mary McAleese: And that brings us to the end of another enlightening episode of changing times right here in lovely Allenwood Thanks as always to our researcher Anne

Mary Kennedy: Marie Staunton and to our producer here at Dundara Television and media and a grace our heartfelt appreciation also goes to Kildare County Council for their generous support and sponsorships

Mary McAleese: Remember to subscribe to Changing Times, share it with your [00:56:00] friends, and don't forget to give us a good review wherever you

Mary Kennedy: get your podcasts.

So until next time, we bid you farewell from Allanwood in County Kildare. Slán.

Mary McAleese: Changing Times, the Allanwood Conversations. Proudly sponsored by Kildare County Council.

02

Jarlath Burns

03

Eimear Noone

04

Keith Barry

05

Anne Doyle

06

Damian Browne

07

Stefanie Preissner

08

Phil Coulter

09

Roz Purcell

10

Daniel O'Donnell

11

Rory O'Connor

12

Eileen Dunne

13

Sean Boylan

14

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

15

Noel Cunningham

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