'Unheard Voices' - six stories from the Troubles

THE wife of murdered RUC officer, Spence McGarry in Ballycastle some 18 years ago, has spoken movingly about how she has been forced to live out her life in the absence of her beloved husband.

Lorna McGarry's story is part of a new film entitled 'Unheard Voices' which records the stories of six individuals affected in different ways by Northern Ireland's recent conflict.

Screened at the Wave Trauma Centre in Ballymoney recently.

T he film shows Mrs. McGarry walking along the beach in Ballycastle and reflecting on the day in April 1991 when she received news that her husband, Detective Constable McGarry, had been murdered by the IRA when a bomb exploded underneath his vehicle at a car park in Castle Street.

Spence McGarry was one of life's gentlemen and his murder caused revulsion throughout the district and beyond.

Mrs. McGarry asked why Spence had been taken away.

"Was it God's will or man's will?" she pondered.

She revealed that Spence had "hated the gun" and did not join the RUC to help retain the British link; rather to help protect people.

There were other moving stories including the murder of 61-year-old Bobby Irons, one of eight of workmen killed in January 1992 by a roadise bomb near Cookstown. It became known as the Teebane Massacre.

The account of the incident was relayed by Mr. Irons' brother, Jimmy who was saddened not only at the loss of his brother, but the fact that Bobby never saw his grandchildren.

Four other family members spoke about their losses including the account of Johnny Procter who had just left hospital in Magherafelt when he was murdered by the IRA who shot him 17 times.

Working in collaboration with victims and survivors from WAVE Trauma Centre, the Centre for Media Research at the University of Ulster recorded the powerful recollections of the move out of violence as the themes of loss, recovery, strength and remembering are reflected through trauma, grief and hope.

The film, which was produced with Causeway Museums Service, impressed a large audience at the Wave Centre at Castlecroft and got a more public viewing several days later at the Flowerfield Arts Centre, Portstewart.

It is anticipated that the film will act as a trailblazer in that it will be used in schools and Colleges throughout the area.