Killeavy man crowned 2013 winner of Mastermind

April 8, 2013

A Killeavy man has been crowned the 2013 winner of Mastermind.

Aidan McQuade from Newtowncloghogue, who now lives in London, was announced as the overall winner after Friday’s tense final in which he scored a solid round of 11 and no passes on his specialist subject, Abraham Lincoln.

Finding himself in fourth place and three points adrift of the lead after the Specialist Subject round, Aidan was second up in the General Knowledge round and added a further 14 points and two passes to his total.  However, his final score proved too much for his fellow competitors to beat and despite their best efforts he won by two clear points.

The former Abbey Grammar student is the Director of Anti-Slavery International, the world’s oldest international human rights organisation, which works to eradicate all modern forms of slavery including human trafficking, forced marriage, forced labour and the worst forms of child labour.

Speaking after his win, Aidan said: “I chose the subject of Abraham Lincoln because his long moral journey and ultimately successful fight to abolish slavery always fascinated me and inspired some of my career choices.

“As Director of Anti-Slavery International and as an anti-slavery campaigner I take a lot of inspiration from Lincoln. Lincoln showed the possibilities of politics when coupled with moral courage in obtaining advances in human rights. His career is a good example of the sort of hard work that still needs to be done to eradicate the contemporary forms of slavery that still affect a minimum of 21 million people across the globe.

“Slavery remains a problem in the modern world in major part because governments in particular lack the political will and the moral courage to address underlying causes of slavery: the vulnerability and social exclusion of those enslaved.

I hope that the immense courage shown by Lincoln in his lifetime inspires this generation of politicians to try to emulate him when they are doing their own jobs,” he added.

In the first round Aidan answered questions on Clonakilty’s most famous son Michael Collins. He scored an impressive 15 on his subject and his general knowledge was good enough to secure a one point victory with a total of 24. In the semi-finals he answered questions on the novels of Dennis Lehane, whose father, coincidentally, also came from Clonakilty. He led from beginning to end, scoring 11 in the first round and won with a total of 21, two points ahead of his nearest rival once again.

SDLP Assemblyman, Dominic Bradley, offered his congratulations to Mr McQuade: “He has been a great ambassador for south Armagh and has made all of us very proud,” he said.

“Aidan’s victory helps focus on his very important work as director of Anti-Slavery International which  works at local, national, and international levels to eliminate all forms of slavery around the world.  Millions of men, women and children around the world are forced to lead lives as slaves. Although this exploitation is often not called slavery, the conditions are the same. People are sold like objects, forced to work for little or no pay and are at the mercy of their ’employers’.

“Contemporary slavery takes various forms and affects people of all ages, sex, and race.  We all need to do all in our power to eradicate every form of modern slavery regardless of where it takes place,” he added.

His colleague Councillor Geraldine Donnelly said Mr McQuade’s victory in such a prestigious competition is a great achievement.

“He now joins that elite group of people who have won the famous Mastermind trophy.  I congratulate him heartily,” she said.