A WOMAN who lived abroad for years after her dad was shot dead by the IRA has told how she returned to her native Belfast to set up a dating agency.
Liz Doyle told how “life changed as I knew it” when her dad, a Catholic judge named William Doyle, was shot coming out of mass by two gunmen in 1983 aged 57.
The NI woman, who was at the church, was shielded from seeing her father after the shooting but heard the shots and saw the gunmen running past her.
They then handed the weapon to a young girl who was walking her dog.
Liz said a lot of people were affected by the Troubles but she was of the generation “where you got up and got on”.
She told RTE’s Ryan Tubridy: “I think life just changed as I knew it, it does change when someone goes like that. My mother probably didn’t take things terribly well with hindsight.
“A lot of people are affected by the Troubles in Northern Ireland and I was of the generation where you got up and got on.
“I was at school with nuns and I went back to school a week later and I was told off for taking a week off school. Different times, none of this let’s talk you through and get counselling stuff.”
She left Belfast shortly afterwards and went to school in England, before moving to New York where she worked for global financial firms.
Liz said she believed her father was targeted because “they thought he was working for the enemy”.
She revealed: “I think the thing people in the South forget is that the IRA killed an awful lot of Catholics in Northern Ireland.
“They thought he was working for the enemy. He believed you should change things from the inside, that the only way the British would hear the Irish voice is if you work with them.
“My father would have been a republican with a big ‘R’. He grew up in west Belfast on the Falls Road, he would have been very Irish, probably nationalist.”
After her dad’s death, the 51-year-old went on to carve a successful career in New York where she worked for Goldman Sachs and subsequently Lehman Brothers in 2008.
However she was let go as a result of the global banking crash.
Recalling the moment Lehman Brothers collapsed and staff had to pack up their belongings she said: “One of the big bosses stood up on a desk and said down tools.
“You sit there, you’re thinking should we leave, what should we do, is someone going to chat to us. Nobody knew what was going on. So in true Irish style we went to the pub.”
After a stint in London, Liz returned to her native Belfast and set up a dating agency called the Fine Dining Club seven years ago.
She came up with the idea after hosting a dinner party with a lot of single friends.
She explained: “Business is booming. We have teachers, lovely farmers, we have vets. We have politicians, most people are working decent jobs.”
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She has had much success with matchmaking resulting in seven weddings, six babies, two engagements and six couples in long-term partnerships, plus thousands of dates.
She added: “I think dating is a metaphor for life, things happen, you’ve been divorced, you’ve been separated, maybe even widowed.
“I’m a great believer in moving forward, you can’t keep looking back, it doesn’t help.”