Thursday 21 February 2019

Irish pressed for Bob Geldof to be given Nobel Peace Prize after Live Aid triumph

George Michael, promoter Harvey Goldsmith, Bono, Paul McCartney, Bob Geldof and
Freddie Mercury join in the finale of Live Aid. Photo: AP
George Michael, promoter Harvey Goldsmith, Bono, Paul McCartney, Bob Geldof and Freddie Mercury join in the finale of Live Aid. Photo: AP

Ralph Riegel

Ireland lobbied hard for Boomtown Rats singer and Live Aid organiser Bob Geldof to be awarded the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize.

Confidential government files, released under the 30-year rule, reveal the leaders of all major political parties backed the effort to secure the award for the Dublin-born singer.

Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats. (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI Collection).
Bob Geldof of The Boomtown Rats. (Part of the Independent Newspapers Ireland/NLI Collection).

Taoiseach Dr Garret FitzGerald personally wrote on December 31, 1985, to the Norwegian selection committee to back Mr Geldof's candidacy.

"I would suggest that there has seldom been a candidate of such youth who is also so highly deserving of the prestigious nomination which is your committee's concern," he wrote.

"Were Mr Geldof to be considered for this award, I believe the effects could be very far-reaching indeed."

The taoiseach said the world had never seen such an outpouring of humanitarian concern after first Band Aid and then Live Aid.

Dr FitzGerald said he believed the rock star (inset, left) was "a great influence for good".

"His personal magnetism, powers of persuasion and the high esteem in which he is held by his fellow musicians have helped make the Third World and its problems appear more real and important for the developed world.

"Mr Geldof is also, I think, deserving of recognition because his actions in raising public consciousness of the effects of famine in Africa, by enhancing our understanding of man's common vulnerability on this planet (have) contributed to creating a better and more peaceful world."

On June 2, 1986, Jakob Sverdrup of the Nobel Committee in Oslo acknowledged receipt of Dr FitzGerald's letter.

The award eventually went to Romanian-American author Elie Wiesel, a Jewish survivor of both Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps.

Irish Independent

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