AFTERMATH Displacement is an innocuous enough word. But for those who are the victims of violence, or the threat of violence, the word carries enormous significance. It means loss and separation on a profound scale – loss of family and friends, of community and of a way of life; separation from one’s own place and one’s own people. For some, displacement need not involve leaving home physically. Displacement happens also when the ties of family and community living have been so broken – by violence or terrorism from within one’s own place – that a way of living has been damaged almost beyond repair. All displaced persons – whether or not they have had to flee their homes – need recognition, support and encouragement to build new lives or re-construct their old lives. — EMILY O’REILLY, OMBUDSMAN, IRELAND, 2013
The importance and potential of arts as a tool for peacebuilding should not be underestimated. The artistic five minutes, I have found rather consistently, when it is given space and acknowledged as something far beyond entertainment, accomplishes what most of politics has been unable to attain: It helps us return to humanity, a transcendent journey that, like the moral imagination, can build a sense that we are, after all, a human community. — JOHN PAUL LEDERACH, PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL PEACEBUILDING, THE JOAN B. KROC INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL PEACE STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME
A N T H O N Y H AU G H E Y / L AU R E N C E M c K E OW N / E L A I N E AG N E W
INTRODUCTION In 1969 the largest evacuation of refugees since World War II took place in Ireland as thousands of people fled across the border to escape the unfolding conflict in Northern Ireland. In subsequent years the border counties continued to be heavily impacted; many people were injured or killed in bombings and shootings whilst others were imprisoned or displaced. In the mid 1990s increasing political and economic stability in Ireland created the conditions for a new demographic shift with the arrival of asylum seekers and refugees from all over the world. These people often experienced the same fears and anxieties as their counterparts from the north. They also encountered similar suspicions and prejudices on arrival in their new home.
Following the Good Friday Agreement and the cessation of overt conflict the issue arose of how to address the legacy of conflict. The Aftermath project brought together people directly affected by trauma to share their experiences through music, film, and photography. Filmmaker, and Aftermath director, Laurence McKeown and commissioned artists Anthony Haughey and Elaine Agnew worked closely with the participants to produce a major exhibition and programme of curated public events creating an opportunity for those people to tell their story and to have that story told to others. – Aftermath was a collaborative project (March 2012 – December 2013) comprising four organisations. Diversity Challenges (the Lead Partner); The County Museum, Dundalk; The Integration Centre; and the Rural Community Network. Aftermath was funded by the County Louth Peace and Reconciliation Partnership under the EU Programme for Peace and Reconciliation 2007 – 2013.
There are many people to thank for making the Aftermath project so successful and inspiring. Primarily, the participants (listed separately) who were willing to engage with the project and be open, honest, and trusting that all of us who worked on the project would present them, and their stories, with grace and integrity. The others (listed below) played an invaluable role, each in their own unique way and collectively as a team. THE PROJECT MANAGEMENT GROUP Diversity Challenges –
Will Glendinning, and Karen Ferris; The Integration Centre – Atinuke Oluwole Achioya and Tosin Omiyale; The County Museum, Dundalk – Brian Walsh; The Rural Community Network – Sharon O’Toole and Charmain Jones. THE ADVISORY GROUP Kate Turner, Healing Through Remembering;
Anna Bryson, The Peace Process: Layers of Meaning; Anne Cartmill, WAVE Trauma Centre, Armagh; Atinuke Oluwole Achioya, The Integration Centre; Kevin Mulgrew, Failte Abhaile. THE PHOTOGRAPHIC ARTIST Anthony Haughey.
DESIGNER Gerry Morrison POST-PRODUCTION Deirdre McGing BOOK DESIGN Detail. Design Studio DAVID HOLMES AND KEEFUS CIANCA who donated, ‘A Song for Michael’ to the project. THE LOUTH PEACE SECRETARIAT Valerie Artherton
and Grainne Cumiskey THE LOUTH & MEATH EDUCATION & TRAINING BOARD
Sadie Ward McDermott Edition 250 – My thanks to each and everyone of you and to all the others along the way who advised, assisted, and supported the work in many ways. Go raibh mile maith agaibh go léir. LAURENCE McKEOWN SEPTEMBER 2014
THE MUSIC COMPOSER Elaine Agnew. THE FILM PRODUCTION TEAM Damian and Patrick Purcell. THE CONSULTANTS Trish Lambe (photography/exhibition),
Eamonn Quinn (music), and Mick René Beyers (archival research).
A N T H O N Y H AU G H E Y / L AU R E N C E M c K E OW N / E L A I N E AG N E W
PARTICIPANTS — IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE
Bridie O’Byrne Hugo Mulvenna Mick Beyers John Connolly Toby Oluseyi Temmy Oluseyi Collette Hamilton Tommy Murphy Reitha Hasson Bernie Donnelly Anne Cartmill Tony Martin Mark O’Connor Tony Magill Frances Casey Ide Lenihan Geraldine Cassidy Tony Hughes
Marion Jameson Yohanca Diaz emanuela Doda Eugene Dunbar Eileen Morgan Paddy Agnew James Martin Kathleen Dunbar Emirjeta Doda and Englentina Doda Ray O’Loughlin Andrea Connolly Jim Webb Nasir Yasin Ines Lyaba Mary Duffy Daniella Lyaba Hisham Babker
Maura McKeever Margaret English Dominic McGlinchey Anthony Connelly Breige Elliman Bernie Kelly Ciaran Dunbar Dawi Roushann Laurence McKeown Maureen Purcell Ann McGeeney Rita Griffin Daniel Byrne Annette Cassidy Eugene Rooney Jim O’Neill Noelle Jordan Jimmy Fox
Sunera Aniver Roisin Keenan David Kortu Tinu Achioya Alan Brecknell Liam Cassidy Tosin Omiyale Kudun Musse Kathy O’Hare Rita Mulvenna Will Glendinning Karen Ferris Joe Kinsella Pat McIlvenna Celine McGuigan Mick Agnew Roger McCallum Susan O’Neill
Frank Larrigan Paddy Quinn Tony Jordan Emmanuel Marley Jim Daly Gjovalin Doda Bernie O’Connor Paul Heslin PARTICIPANTS IN THE PROJECT BUT NOT PHOTOGRAPHED:
John Gallagher Marian Basonga Mohammed Babker Paul Kavanagh Peter Kavanagh Remba Osengo
A N T H O N Y H AU G H E Y / L AU R E N C E M c K E OW N / E L A I N E AG N E W
FAILED STATES — NOAM CHOMSKY
Amongst the hardest tasks that anyone can undertake, and one of the most important, is to look honestly in the mirror. If we allow ourselves to do so we should have little difficulty in finding the characteristics of ‘failed states’ right at home. That recognition of reality should be deeply troubling to those who care about their countries and future generations. – Reproduced with kind permission from Noam Chomsky, ‘Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy,’ 2006.
WAITING FOR NEWS FROM HOME — ANTHONY HAUGHEY
Living on the island of Ireland it is easy to forget that the border is also an international boundary. There are no fences or passport controls; a more subtle and pervasive form of surveillance is used instead. For migrants, Ireland’s border is part of Fortress Europe where they are subjected to the inhumanity of European immigration policies. Thousands of people are living a precarious existence in a constant state of fear in temporary accommodation in Reception Centre’s such as Mosney, a former Butlin’s Holiday Camp near Drogheda, waiting to hear news of their fate.
From the window the sound of seagulls and a passing train on the Dublin to Belfast railway line can be heard. The female respondent has her arms folded throughout the conversation. She is confident and articulate as she addresses an imagined viewer beyond the camera lens: There is a big problem back home and that is why people are leaving Nigeria in such large numbers. If you look around you will realize that most of the Nigerian people in Ireland are educated. They are not hungry people, they are well established back home, but the political arena there is too hot to handle. You are better off being alive than dead. Your voice can only be heard if you are alive, so, for you to remain alive you have to leave that volatile environment so that you can express certain things that are happening.
EXCERPT FROM ASYLUM ARCHIVE #14 DURATION: 14 minutes 39 seconds
Description: A female resident of unknown origin dressed in a red sweater and trousers is standing in a sparsely furnished kitchen; behind her is a small window draped with floral curtains.
be good news, sometimes it could be bad news, and each individual tends to express whatever news they have received in different manners. Some tend to express bad news in an explosive manner, where you could hear them banging on the doors and hitting the telephone boxes, flinging off the equipment, especially if there is news of a bereavement from their home country. You could have somebody hearing that a parent or a child has died, or maybe a sibling or a spouse, and the reaction is usually very devastating. Sometimes it could be good news that you have been granted leave to remain in the country or you have been granted refugee status and they tend to jubilate at such information, so you can once in a while hear someone run out of this room, to express their joy for being rewarded for one reason or the other.
EXCERPT FROM ASYLUM ARCHIVE #18 DURATION: 19 minutes 01 second
Description: A female Nigerian resident wearing a heavy black winter coat is sitting on a table inside the international call centre. It is a cold spring morning, sunlight is streaming in through a large window illuminating the telephone booths. The sound of seagulls can be heard outside. Inside, the voices of a Ukrainian woman and Iraqi man can be heard speaking to their families by telephone. Children are playing outside and occasionally run in and out of the call centre as the narrator describes the significance of this space for the residents of Mosney Reception Centre: Itâ€™s in this same room where all Mosney residents communicate with the outside world; where they experience a lot of emotions. Sometimes it could
…STUCK IN A KIND OF NO MAN’S LAND… — PAULINE CONROY
Ireland is one of just a few countries in the European area which have had populations displaced by war and conflict in recent times. Others are Cyprus, following the Turkish invasion, and the Balkan war involving states and peoples within the former Yugoslavia. Currently the constant harassment of the Roma and Sinti peoples – sometimes referred to as ‘gypsies’ – moves them from one country to another in a permanent displacement without them ever being received by a state as refugees fleeing persecution.
The European Union may have been even a bit ahead of its time as the United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement were only adopted in 1998. The current Peace III programme views the forced migration of displacement as part of acknowledging and dealing with the past: Acknowledging the hurt, losses, truths and suffering of the past. Providing the mechanisms for justice, healing, restitution or reparation, and restoration (including apologies if necessary and steps aimed at redress). To build reconciliation, individuals and institutions need to acknowledge their own role in the conflicts of the past, accepting and learning from it in a constructive way so as to guarantee non-repetition.
The European Union has had significant involvement in the post-conflict situation in Northern Ireland dating back to the post-1994 period when a ceasefire was declared by the Irish Republican Army, and the 1998 period when a peace Agreement, known as the Good Friday Agreement, was signed by the main political parties. Amongst its involvements was funding for a structured series of Special Programmes for Peace and Reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the Border Counties. It was in the context of these programmes that research was commissioned into persons displaced by the conflict in the North of Ireland to the South of Ireland.
More specifically research was intended as part of: Actions that explore legacy and memory of the conflict through truth recovery, documentation, storytelling and the recording of complex history and experience. North and south, Ireland has been very reluctant to recognise in any sense that there have been
people displaced in Ireland by the conflict in the North. There were waves of movement â€“ first in the seventies in and around the period of internment. Later in the 1980s individuals and whole families moved south from fear.
Some could not settle or integrate and felt like outsiders. A few became depressed and hid it in substance abuse. Typical of displaced persons worldwide, many changed their accents and lied about their origins so as not be identified as a Northerner. Indeed such was the atmosphere in the South in the seventies and eighties that being from the North, for many people, meant you were probably a â€˜subversive.â€™ The very last thing displaced people wanted was attention and publicity which would undermine their strong need for anonymity.
Those fears arose from: Fear of being arrested / Fear of being arrested as a member of an armed organisation / Fear of being arrested despite not being a member of an armed organisation / Watching neighbours in rural areas being shot or having their homes attacked / Fear of being interned without trial / Receiving threatening or menacing letters or messages / Fear of being shot / Fear of being arrested and convicted in a non-jury Court.
The stories of people displaced by conflict in the North need to be told.
The consequences for displaced persons were severe. Some never attended the funerals of their parents, which was experienced as an aching and damaging guilt. The extended family and its supports broke down with children of the displaced not knowing their cousins or grandparents.
WHERE THE MIND IS WITHOUT FEAR — BRIAN WALSH DIRECTOR, COUNTY MUSEUM DUNDALK
When the County Museum, Dundalk was approached to participate in the Aftermath project, an affirmative answer came quickly. Here was an invaluable opportunity to actively record and hold for future generations a collection of memories on some of the most important events ever to affect north Louth. Our participation, primarily through advice and suggestion, has arguably been one of the most significant encounters that the Museum as an institution has ever experienced. The recollection of first-hand encounters of people coming to the area has been a truly humbling and instructive experience at both a professional and personal level. One cannot but be moved by memories of lost lives, the damning of dreams replaced by nightmare realities, the thoughts of what might have been.
That is not to say that the project is a negative experience. There is the recurring theme of resilience and, most importantly, a willingness for people to recall perhaps their bleakest memories. It is this candidness that has made the project so important – here is, in effect, the first draft of a historical narrative, composed and articulated by those who experienced it. It is uncomfortable listening; the images evoke an uneasy feeling, impressing thoughts and recollections into the mind of the listener. The former Speaker of the American House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill, once remarked that all politics is local. Surely then all history is local and the national narrative is the summation of all that happens throughout a country. If that is the case, and I believe that it is, then local history has never been so important or relevant.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high; Where knowledge is free; Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls; Where words come out from the depth of truth; Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection; Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit; Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action; Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake. â€”
DEMOCRACY? HOME AND ABROAD — INEZ MCCORMACK WOMEN’S & HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST & TRADE UNIONIST
2011 resonated with voices demanding open and accountable decision-making. From the Arab Spring to the Occupy movement, people exercising the right to have a say on the conditions that govern their lives demonstrated not only the failings of existing democratic institutions, but the understanding that ‘ordinary’ people have of the connection that exists between economic and social inequality, and democracy.
In December of last year, alongside the Belfast Mental Health Rights Group and the Seven Towers Residents Group (New Lodge), I, in my capacity as a member of the Participation and the Practice of Rights organization, met with the European Human Rights Commissioner, Thomas Hammarberg, to outline the concerns of both groups. Angie McManus,a resident in Seven Towers,explained the struggle which the group were having in asserting the humanity of residents: “They tell us there is no damp, but I have seen it with my own eyes; flat after flat with water running down the walls, where children are sleeping.” Similarly, Bette Graham from the Mental Health group spoke of how despite supportive words and actions from political representatives, “We’re being told how we should feel without giving us the chance to say what we need.”
The absence of effective accountability amongst public bodies has led to failed economic and social outcomes on the ground. Public bodies are refusing to disclose information which is in the interests of public transparency. Arbitrary decisions are being taken with little regard for existing national and international legislation. Decisions to restructure societies are taken with scant regard for the public good. These are not just ‘foreign’ problems.
Cuts cannot be scapegoated as the reason for inequality. It is clear that patterns of disadvantage did not shift in the decade of prosperity following the peace agreement. Government statistics demonstrate the most deprived areas of Northern Ireland are still in North Belfast, West Belfast, and Derry. Long-term unemployment is still disproportionally experienced by Catholic males (61% in 2010) and chronic social housing shortages are still concentrated in the same areas. There is also an alarming growth in educational underachievement of young Protestant males.
In 2012, as the NI elected institutions return, an opportunity exists to produce a practical timetable on ‘how’ the most vulnerable and deprived are not only to be protected but afforded the priority of opportunity and outcomes they have been constantly denied. It could start by requiring public bodies to treat such groups with respect.
These voices and statistics lay bare the reality that despite developing political relationships in Northern Ireland social and economic divisions are widening. As 2011 has taught us, democracy is fundamentally about whose voice we value and how accountable our institutions are.
“The absence today of respect for healthy democratic participation is the promise that yesterday’s failures will be repeated tomorrow.”
Former UN High Commissioner Mary Robinson, commenting recently on the dangers of democratic deficit, referred to the Seven Towers resident’s group, and said:
That’s exactly my point.
AFTERMATH â€” DAWN PURVIS HEALING THROUGH REMEMBERING
At Healing Through Remembering we work together on a common goal of how to deal with the legacy of the past as it relates to the conflict in and about Northern Ireland. We feel strongly that unresolved grievances and wrongs relating to the conflict continue to contribute to the current lack of trust between communities and political parties. In order to underpin political progress the past must be addressed and HTR has demonstrated through its work to date that dialogue and debate involving difficult conversations can lead to resolution and agreement without loss of political face or concession of principles.
It is important that when we work on dealing with the legacy of the past that we recognise and understand that our conflict was long and protracted and hurt can be passed on from one generation to the next. It is not helpful to force people into a process when they are not ready or where they do not want to be. In order for the work to be deep and meaningful we need to identify where people are at and work with them where they are. For many, they will not want to talk about the past as it may be too painful. We need to recognise that and understand that and commit ourselves to building peace with them as opposed to around them.
Using a common set of core principles that underpin and emanate throughout the process it is possible to achieve an outcome that contributes to building the peace we desire. These principles can be summarised as a commitment to the future, being inclusive, open and transparent, while setting realistic and hopeful goals. With the will to explore and to listen to the different experiences of the conflict, and the willingness to recognise that everyone has a different experience, one that is not right or wrong but is that personâ€™s own, then the building blocks are there.
The alternative is a worsening two-speed society where one part abandons any interest or responsibility for building peace and the other lives with the black cloud of the past every day. A friend of mine once said, â€œThe only shared future worth having is built on the equal value of every person and a generosity towards others which has never been easy to come by.â€? Dealing with our past in an inclusive, open and comprehensive manner will help us realise that goal.
ALAN BRECKNELL — PAT FINUCANE CENTRE
I have, in more recent years, been involved in the pilot Victims’ Forum in the North and being involved in this process I have now got the sense that it’s not just your own grief, there’s other people hurting in the exact same way, from all sorts of different communities and backgrounds. It’s amazing how many stories are the exact same; it’s just someone in a different place. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Catholic or a Protestant or an atheist or whatever, the hurt is still the same and we all have to start to think about that. Where do we go from here?
million people in the North could class themselves as a victim of the conflict. That’s nearly a third of the population in the North and that doesn’t take any account of the people who were hurt and injured and bereaved here South of the border or the people who were hurt and injured and bereaved from England.
I think one of the things that we need to do is try and impart to the British Government, the Irish Government, and the Northern Assembly that anything they do about dealing with victims’ issues has to be genuine. I get a sense that there isn’t a real genuine sense of urgency, a real genuine sense of we have to deal with the past here. There’s an apathy there and I think we need to get over that apathy. People say, “Oh it’s only a small number of people who are still affected by the troubles.” There was research published yesterday, a comprehensive needs assessment which was a piece of research that was undertaken by the Victims’ Commission in the North, and within that research it suggests that possibly half a 12
I think it’s important that all the stories are documented and that’s why this sort of a project is important. If someone wants their story documented and told it’s important to tell that story. In relation to why governments do things, that’s a bigger question. Is there a shame factor there? I don’t know. Why do governments continually try to bury their head in the sand and say, “We cannot deal with this, it’s too big an issue, we’ll upset the Peace Process.” My great fear is if we don’t deal with it, it will come back to upset the Peace Process, because at some stage in the future someone will turn around and say, “I now have a legitimate right to go out and do…” just as what happened in the past. And I think it’s really, really important that anyone who wants their story told, it should be told, but if anyone wants to be left alone, they should also be left alone and come at it in their own time.
I know lots of families that we deal with will come in, they’ll engage with the Historical Enquiries Team process, and they’ll go away and you’ll not see them for another couple of years. And then they’ll come back to you again and say, “You know, that report, you know what it didn’t do? It didn’t tell me who my father was. It didn’t say he was a father, he was a brother, he was an uncle, he was a neighbour, he was a computer engineer, whatever it was. It didn’t tell the story of the individual; it didn’t say this was the impact that this had on our lives. This wrecked our lives and it wrecked our lives for X, Y and Z reasons, and it’s still wrecking our lives because I’m now passing on the trauma of that to my children.” And that’s why we have to deal with this. It’s not about drawing a line in the sand; it’s about getting an understanding of what happened and why it happened and then being able to say to our children and our grandchildren, “Well look, your father or your grandfather was killed in the Troubles, but this is why it happened and this is why it should never happen again.” I started asking these questions because my 3-year old said to me, “Why do I not have a grandfather?”
And that was it. It was an absolutely shattering question to be asked by a 3 year old, and all he was asking was he knew that his cousin who was two weeks younger than him spent the weekends going to visit her grandfather. I think we have to take it down to that basic, basic level and then tell the stories from those basic levels, get the learning out of it, and the learning out of it can be lots of different things, it can be that governments shouldn’t be allowed to get away covering things up and then burying their heads in the sand, but it should also be that we don’t poison our children with our politics and our experiences, that we can educate them better than we were. We have to start asking those questions and be open and honest with ourselves, and they’re hard questions and they’re hard discussions to have but if we don’t have them now we’re just going to continue this on and on and on and on for the next generation and the generation after that. –
Extract from a presentation made by Alan Brecknell of the Pat Finucane Centre at the launch of the Aftermath project in Dundalk, November, 2012. Alan’s father was killed in a bomb and gun attack on Donnelly’s bar, Siverbridge, South Armagh in December 1975.
MARGARET URWIN — JUSTICE FOR THE FORGOTTEN
The Dublin and Monaghan bombings in the Republic of Ireland, on 17th May 1974, was the bloodiest day of the entire conflict when 34 people lost their lives yet the Garda investigation was wound down in a matter of weeks despite the fact that there were 20 suspects on the Garda file, eight of them evidence-based. There followed a ‘long silence’, which lasted for at least 16 years, eventually broken with the broadcasting on Channel 4 of the Yorkshire Television documentary – ‘Hidden Hand: the forgotten massacre’. The programme had a huge impact on the Irish Government of the day, the media and ordinary citizens, including myself. However, the momentum created by the programme began to dissipate due to the procrastination of the government and the Gardaí. With the signing of the Good Friday Agreement things began to change, albeit slowly. A Victims’ Commission in the Republic was established in parallel with one in the North. The Commissioner, former Táiniste, the late John Wilson, met with many bereaved and injured victims over a twelve-month period.
In his report, published in August 1999, he made excellent proposals regarding acknowledgement payments to bereaved families, continuing medical expenses and home care to injured survivors, payments to displaced persons, counselling, physical memorials, story-telling, etc. However, to our great disappointment, he recommended private inquiries into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and the case of Séamus Ludlow from County Louth (abducted and killed by loyalists in 1976). In 1999 the 25th anniversary of the bombings, Bertie Ahern became the first Taoiseach to meet with the families. The meeting led to further engagement and negotiations with his Department and, eventually, to the establishment of the Hamilton, later Barron, Commission of Inquiry. It was essentially a private inquiry but with agreed interaction between Justice for the Forgotten and the Judge. It was also intended to be a first step on the road to a public tribunal of inquiry following hearings before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice. However, this course of action was negotiated before the Abbeylara judgment (2001) set at nought the powers of Oireachtas committees.
Initially, the Commission of Inquiry was to investigate only the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, the Dundalk bombing and the Séamus Ludlow murder, but Justice For the Forgotten succeeded in having the Inquiry extended to include the Dublin bombings of 1972/73, the Belturbet and Castleblayney bombings, and the murder of John Francis Green (all in the Republic). Judge Barron also decided to examine, with input from the Pat Finucane Centre, linked cases north of the border, including the Miami Showband, Donnelly’s Bar, Silverbridge, the Reaveys and O’Dowd cases, etc. Barron’s first report was published in December 2003. Three other reports followed between 2004 and 2006. By the time the final Barron report was examined the cross-party Committee was in no doubt that collusion had occurred and went so far, in its final report, of accusing the British Government of war crimes. Inquests had never been the Dublin bombings of legal advisers succeeded re-opened and they were
deaths of the victims. Inquests into the Monaghan bombing, which had been completed, were re-opened by direction of the Attorney General. A Commission of Investigation into certain aspects of the Garda investigation into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings was set up in 2005, which reported two years later. Justice For the Forgotten’s opinion of that report, by Paddy MacEntee, SC, is that it was largely a whitewash and a retrograde step from the findings of Judge Barron, although it did reveal the huge volume of material that is missing from Garda files. Over the past decade Justice For the Forgotten extended its remit to include the families of victims of all cross-border bombings of the 1970s and we also assist other individual families who have sought our support and advocacy. We have assisted families where their loved ones were killed in the North but whose family members live here, e.g., the Miami Showband. This has involved working with the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) and the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland (PONI).
completed in respect of 1972, 1973 or 1974. Our in having these inquests held 30 years after the
However, for families who lost someone in the Republic there is no formal structure by which they can gain access to information. We have no HET or PONI. We are liaising with An Garda Síochána in particular cases at present but progress is very slow.
Our present Government needs to acknowledge that victims of the conflict south of the border have continuing needs – 120 people lost their lives in the Republic. A formal structure needs to be put in place to enable families to access information about the deaths of their loved ones as of right. They should not have to rely on gaining informing as some form of grace and favour. I believe, also, that the Remembrance Commission should re-open for a brief period to allow those people who were unaware of its existence to apply for payments to which they were entitled.
In the cross-border bombings cases, we are still trying to convince the British Government to release the undisclosed documents withheld from the Barron Inquiries and we met recently with the British Ambassador to try to progress matters.
Unfortunately, the Irish government has reverted to its former position of ignoring us. Our funding was withdrawn in 2009 after the closure of the Remembrance Commission and despite seven letters to our current Taoiseach requesting a meeting with him, he has failed to respond.
Extract from a presentation made by Margaret Urwin of the Justice For the Forgotten Campaign at the launch of the Aftermath project in Dundalk, November, 2012. Justice For the Forgotten works on behalf of the relatives of those killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 1974.
Thanks to the Pat Finucane Centre, who invited us to join them in 2010, we are, for the moment able to continue our work on behalf of victims here.
IN THE AFTERMATH — LAURENCE McKEOWN
In the midst of conflict despite the agony there can be a comfort of closeness in a oneness a black and whiteness a pulling together a common enemy a sameness a sharing a certainty that seldom remains in the aftermath. It’s then that the true cost of conflict is often felt.
ALAN McBRIDE — WAVE TRAUMA CENTRE
Can I say, first of all, that I’m delighted to be here and on behalf of WAVE to say how delighted we are to be involved with the Aftermath project. I think it’s an excellent project and particularly because of its emphasis on story-telling, and story-telling is something which is very close to my heart. You know, I think I have to say this, because I think it’s quite sad. I don’t really know if society cares, if I’m being honest. I was involved most of last year with a group of injured people that were affected by the troubles; double amputees, people who were blind, deafened, people with post traumatic stress, and they started a campaign for recognition, really on the back of the recognition payment idea in the Eames-Bradley report. They were out on the streets gathering petitions, and the number of times people came up to them and said, “You know what? You should just go away. It’s over, the conflict’s over. Get on with your life and forget about this.”
And this was to people who were standing with one leg, and if you can say that to those sorts of people you can say it to anybody. So I don’t know that society really cares. I think people just want people to move on. And I think government is like that as well. I was in Washington not so long ago and obviously they were trying to sell Northern Ireland abroad, and they showed us this beautiful video that they had made, a lovely video of the Giant’s Causeway. Rory McElroy was in there with his golf and all this kind of stuff, and it was great, and I remember saying to the person standing next to me, “I would love to go there on holiday; it’s a fantastic wee place.” But I never recognised it, because the Northern Ireland that I’m from, in the areas where I’m from, they have twice the national average of young suicides and these things are not the things that will ever sell Northern Ireland abroad. Of course they’re not.
And I think that people can move on but we have to deal with the conflict and with the legacy that has been created. And I think that we need to create some sort of civil space for this sort of engagement and this sort of dialogue to take place. It happens but it doesn’t happen far enough, I don’t think. I think the experiences are few and far between and they’re usually, usually, with the usual suspects. I don’t think they’re with the people at large and I don’t think they’re with our politicians. Our politicians never really take part in these types of discussions. They pay lip service to it. If you’re totally committed to a shared future and to reaching out to former enemies and to try to change this society and to build a new society, recognise that hurt’s hurt and pain’s pain and trauma’s trauma and just give a little bit of respect. – Extract from a presentation made by Alan McBride of the WAVE Trauma Centre at the launch of the Aftermath project in Dundalk, November, 2012. Alan’s wife and father-in-law were killed in an IRA bomb that exploded in a fish shop on the Shankill Road, Belfast in October 1993.
AFTERMATH — SIEGFRIED SASSOON (1919)
Have you forgotten yet?… For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days, Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways: And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow Like clouds in the lit heaven of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go, Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare. But the past is just the same-and War’s a bloody game… Have you forgotten yet?… Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget. Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz– The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets? Do you remember the rats; and the stench Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trenchAnd dawn coming, dirty-white, and chill with a hopeless rain? Do you ever stop and ask, ‘Is it all going to happen again?’ Do you remember that hour of din before the attack– And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you then As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men? Do you remember the stretcher-cases lurching back With dying eyes and lolling heads—those ashen-grey Masks of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay? Have you forgotten yet?… Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget.
Siegfried Sassoon was a British poet and soldier His poems broke with the traditional theme of war in the First World War. When he returned to England being clean and honorable. Rather than glorifying after falling ill with a gastric fever he was war and sacrifice for oneâ€™s country, he brought stunned by the distinction between the percep- the dirty, raw experience of mechanized war into tion at home and the actuality of war. Outraged his poetry. This poem, Aftermath, was written after at this discrepancy, he returned to the trenches the war in 1920 and he is asking for the horrors and started writing poetry about his experiences. of war to not be forgotten.
LAURENCE MCKEOWN is a film-maker, writer, and playwright though sees those roles within the broader context of political activism and academia and the role that the arts can play in both. His involvement in creative works, political education, and academia began during his period of incarceration as a political prisoner (1976 –1992). Following his release from prison Laurence completed a doctoral thesis at Queen’s University, Belfast which examined the development of Irish republican prisoners’ politics and methods of organisation. His thesis was published in 2001 entitled Out of Time.
In the 1990s Laurence also co-wrote a feature film, H3, based on the 1981 hunger strike within the prison which he participated in and during which 10 prisoners died. Laurence then began to work as a playwright, using full-length plays and bespoke theatre to explore issues concerning the legacy of the conflict in the North of Ireland. He is currently Director of the Aftermath project based in Co Louth & Newry/South Armagh which looks at victims/survivors of the conflict and also persons displaced by the conflict in Ireland and internationally.
ANTHONY HAUGHEY lives and works in Co. Louth and Dublin. He is an artist and a lecturer in the School of Media at the Dublin Institute of Technology. He is an editorial advisor for the photographic journal Photographies (London: Routledge). He was previously Senior Research Fellow at the Interface Centre for Research in Art, Technologies and Design at the University of Ulster (interface.ulster.ac.uk) where he was awarded his PhD in 2009. His work has been exhibited widely internationally and is represented in public and private collections worldwide.
His work has received widespread ELAINE AGNEW — In 2012 County critical acclaim, ‘Settlement’ Antrim composer Elaine Agnew (2012) explored the collapse of received a BBC Proms commisIreland’s Celtic Tiger housing sion and the premiere of Dark boom. ‘Citizen’ explores notions Hedges by the Ulster Youth of citizenship, migration, and Orchestra, the Ulster Orchestra contested spaces and is currently and Sir James Galway in the Royal showing in Highlanes Gallery, Albert Hall was a huge success, Drogheda (www.highlanes.ie). It one reviewer describing it as will subsequently move across “compelling from beginning to the border to Millennium Court end.” Elaine’s many works have Arts Centre, Portadown in April. been performed and broadcast He is also currently showing worldwide by a variety of interin ‘Homelands’, a major British nationally renowned artists and Council touring exhibition in orchestras. She was appointed as India. In March he exhibited in the first RTÉ lyric FM Composer a Gallery of Photography exhibi- -in-Residence in 2008 and her two tion in the Three Shadows Gallery, commissioned Christmas carols Beijing. have been recently released on the Lyric FM Choirs for Christmas
CD. Her works have featured at major festivals including the BelfastFestivalatQueen’s,London BMIC Cutting Edge, Spitalfields and the Slovenian Unicum Festival and in many world-class venues: the Carnegie, JF Kennedy, Wigmore, and Royal Albert Halls. The Irish Chamber Orchestra opened their January concert at the prestigious Konzerthaus in Berlin with Strings A-Stray to celebrate the German launch of Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Elaine is also a renowned music animateur, much in demand for her innovative and creative work with people of all ages.
DAMIAN PURCELL is a filmmaker with a wealth of video production experience having handled projects of nearly every scale and genre, from single-camera studio interviews, to multi-camera,multi-crewcommercialshoots in locations around the world. Damianâ€™s media production company, Recordit, has produced video materials for clients in the cross border regions and throughoutIreland,including;the East Border Region Ltd, INTERREG IIIA Partnership, Louth Peace and Reconciliation Partnership, Tourism Ireland, FĂĄilte Ireland, and the RSA and SPIRAL projects.
PATRICK PURCELL is an up-and-coming edit assistant, camera operator, and sound assistant. He has worked for Recordit Since 2010 and has been responsible for delivering high quality digital content to numerous companies within the cross border region.
After peace agreements have been signed and the military/ paramilitary apparatus of hostilities removed often little visible remains in societies as evidence of the conflict that recently took place. But for many who lived through that experience, or had to flee from it, the scars they carry are all too real and ever-present. Regardless of what side they took in the conflict, or none, they now must make sense out of what happened and where they go from here.