Kenny Donaldson, Director of Services at SEFF stated: “It is important to remember but also honour all those whose lives were extinguished outside the Maze Prison walls over one of the most turbulent periods in our history. Inside those Prison walls 10 men took the choice, with the leadership of the Republican Movement at their back to complete suicide. Those murdered and killed outside those Prison walls did not have the choice to live because in most cases others decided that they had a right to play God in determining who would live and who should die”.
“Within those murdered and killed were members of the security forces who were murdered both on duty and off duty, there were also many civilians from across the community murdered and within this were four young children aged 11-15 years whose lives were cut short because they were brought out onto the streets by a terror Movement which had a history of using children as human shields”.
“In the year of the Hunger Strikes (1981) and in our own immediate area of South Fermanagh, PIRA sought to extinguish an entire family of brothers who served as part-time members of The Ulster Defence Regiment. They managed to murder two of them; Ronald and Cecil Graham, BUT were unsuccessful in two assassination attempts on their brother Jimmy but they came back and murdered the married father of two just four years later – this is the legacy of the Hunger Strikes for the Graham family and the South Fermanagh community”.
“The death of 10 men on huger strike was a human tragedy and no-on with a semblance of Christianity within their DNA would take glee in their demise. Their families left behind mourn their loss and we acknowledge that. But what we will not ever acknowledge or accept is the manipulation of the truth, the 10 men who died on hunger strike were terrorists (as per National and International law) they were insurrectionists and they were criminals. The damage they and others within the organisations they pledged allegiance but also those within loyalist terror groups and furthermore those who dishonoured the code of the security forces and engaged in criminal acts was substantial and it was mainly inflicted upon their fellow Countrymen, women and children whether they be Protestant, Roman Catholic or Dissenter,” concluded Mr Donaldson.
Victims group calls for balance from N.I Film Industry – SEFF
The Victims group behind a Production shown in Fermanagh on Wednesday night titled; Remembering those who had ‘NO CHOICE’ which was a documentary designed to counter the narrative produced around Bobby Sands and the hunger strike period has written to the First Minister, the Board of Northern Ireland Screen and the BBC insisting that a task-force be established which would proactively works with innocent victims and survivor groups and individuals in a common objective to ensure that their lived experience of terrorism and criminal violence is relayed across TV and Film.
In a statement Director of Services for Lisnaskea-based South East Fermanagh Foundation Kenny Donaldson stated: “Last night’s response to the Documentary Film we showed has copper-fastened our view that there is a need for focused effort to take place which would see the stripped back experiences of the innocent victims and survivors of terrorism and ‘other Troubles related criminal violence’ broadcast and relayed in Film and TV documentaries”.
“We have today requested meetings with the First Minister, the Board of Northern Ireland Screen and the BBC where we will be insisting the need for a re-balance of material which is being broadcast around the World depicting the narrative of ‘The Troubles.’ There may well come a response from these various institutions that we can only help and support projects which come across our desks. That is not a sustainable position, where there is a glaring gap there is need to be proactive if infact the objective of these institutions is to be fair, balanced and inclusive”.
“We will await with interest the responses from N.I Screen and the BBC. Innocent victims and survivors of terrorism are clear that their lived experiences must be heard by a local, national and international audience – their story is a story of truth and fact, others are more adept at producing stories of half truth or fiction,” concluded Mr Donaldson.