Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Widow 'sick to the stomach' over Bobby Sands

'It's disgusting to make a film about Bobby Sands... when I heard I was sick to my stomach'

By Jonathan McCambridge

Published 05/08/2016

June McMullin, the widow of Constable John Proctor
June McMullin, the widow of Constable John Proctor
John Proctor
June McMullin with her son Johnnie
A scene from the Bobby Sands documentary ‘66 Days’

The widow of a policeman murdered by the IRA during the hunger strikes has said the decision to make a new film about Bobby Sands left her "sick to the stomach".

In one of the most infamous incidents of The Troubles, Constable John Proctor was murdered by the IRA at a County Londonderry hospital in 1981 after visiting his newborn son while tensions were heightened throughout the country by the political situation.

Bobby Sands was the first of 10 republican hunger strikers to die in the Maze prison in the same year.

And now Mr Proctor's furious widow has weighed into the deepening row over the Bobby Sands documentary '66 Days' which is set to be shown in more than 30 cinemas across Northern Ireland this weekend.

June McMullin told the Belfast Telegraph: "I think it is disgusting that they would even consider making a film about that man. When I heard out about it I was sick to the stomach."

Controversy has raged over the film which is based on extracts from the republican prisoner's diary, eyewitness testimonies, unseen archive, reconstructions and animations.

Last month unionists reacted furiously when it emerged that public money from the BBC and Northern Ireland Screen had been used to fund the film. Mrs McMullin said that too much attention was being given to convicted terrorists when innocent victims were still seeking answers and, in many cases, justice.

Seamus Kearney was sentenced to life imprisonment in November 2013 for the murder of 25-year-old police reservist John Proctor but served only two years due to the Good Friday Agreement.

Mrs McMullin said: "Bobby Sands had a choice. My husband was an innocent man doing his job, he never had a choice.

"My son Johnnie never had the chance to meet his father, he had no choice.

Hunger striker Bobby Sands' coffin, flanked by an IRA colour party, leaving his mother's home in Twinbrook.
Hunger striker Bobby Sands' coffin, flanked by an IRA colour party, leaving his mother's home in Twinbrook.
Bobby Sands' son Robert Gerald holds his mother's hand at the funeral of his father Bobby in west Belfast flanked by Masked IRA men. Picture by Martin Wright
Tomboy Loudon, Gerry Roche, Denis Donaldson and Bobby Sands pictured in the Long Kesh prison, Northern Ireland.
Hunger strike protesters outside the Dail in Dublin 1981
Hunger strike marchers blocked by gardai as they approach the British Embassy in Dublin
PACEMAKER BELFAST Rioting in west Belfast on the day hunger striker Bobby Sands died in 1981
A man walks past the Bobby Sands mural, in the Falls road area of Belfast
Masked gunmen fire a volley of shots beside hunger striker Bobby Sands coffin, at Milltown Cemetery.
Bobby Sands (seated fourth from left). The Star of the Sea football team.
Hunger striker Bobby Sands funeral procession making its way down Stewartstown Road on Route to Milltown cemetery
Several unionist politicians have called for Maze cells which housed hunger strikers to be flattened
Bobby Sands funeral
1st March 2011. Launch of the Hunger Strike 30th Anniversary Exhibition in the Linen Hall Library, Belfast. Ten republican prisoners died during the 1981 protest inside the Maze Prison. A letter written by Bobby Sands on cigarette paper which was smuggled out of the prison pictured at the exhibition.
Michael Fassbender stars in Hunger, the film about the last six weeks in the life of Bobby Sands
Kieran Doherty died in the Maze prison in 1981 after being on a hunger strike
Former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald pleaded with Ronald Reagan to pile pressure on Margaret Thatcher over the hunger strikes

"It is disgraceful that public money was used to make this film and that they are going to make profit out of it.

"The money would have been better spent on all those victims out there who are still waiting for answers and who will never get justice."

She added: "I was pregnant at the time of the hunger strikes, there was so much tension in the air, the whole area was on high alert all the time.

"I don't care what anybody says - when you make a film like this it glorifies terrorism. I think people should hear the other side of the story, I think it is the victims' stories which should be told."

Mrs McMullin is supporting an initiative from the South East Fermanagh Foundation which is showing an alternative film include the testimonies of those who have been directly impacted by the IRA terrorism.

The event takes place next Wednesday, August 10 at 7.30pm in the Lisgoole Suite, Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen.

Dougie Adams, Jane Adams, Cathy Gormley-Heenan and Ronan Heenan are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast.
The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Dougie Adams, Jane Adams, Cathy Gormley-Heenan and Ronan Heenan are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Gerry and Margaret Kelly are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Mary Nellis and Mary Kay Hinphey are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Hunger striker Bobby Sands' coffin, flanked by an IRA colour party, leaving his mother's home in Twinbrook.
Sabina Cherek, Rabek Cherek and Alina Grychta are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Loretta Van der horst and Marco bij le Veld pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Mary Nellis, Mitchel McLaughlin and Mary Kay Hinphey are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bobby Sands' son Robert Gerald holds his mother's hand at the funeral of his father Bobby in west Belfast flanked by Masked IRA men. Picture by Martin Wright
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Alex Maskey, Liz Maskey, Patricia Maskey and Paul Maskey are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Pauline and Padraig Omuirigh are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 John Darcy, Eamonn Mallie and John Darcy are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Leontia McKenna and Peter Lynch are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Tomboy Loudon, Gerry Roche, Denis Donaldson and Bobby Sands pictured in the Long Kesh prison, Northern Ireland.
Hunger strike protesters outside the Dail in Dublin 1981
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Bairbre de Brún, Sile Darragh, Mary Doyle and Carál Ní Chuilín are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Brendan Byrne and Colm Scullion are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Brendan Byrne, Olivia Byrne, Sharon Darby and Greg Darby are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Hunger strike marchers blocked by gardai as they approach the British Embassy in Dublin
PACEMAKER BELFAST Rioting in west Belfast on the day hunger striker Bobby Sands died in 1981
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Michele Devlin and Brendan Byrne are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Sheila, Ella, Mia and Trevor Birney are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Colm Scullion and Peter Bryson are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
A man walks past the Bobby Sands mural, in the Falls road area of Belfast
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Laurence McKeown, Michelle Beyers and Lachlan Whalen are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Michael and Betty Doherty are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Niall Ó Donnghaile, Irene Sherry and Dominic Adams are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Masked gunmen fire a volley of shots beside hunger striker Bobby Sands coffin, at Milltown Cemetery.
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Professor Siobhan O'Neill and Professor Deirdre Heenan are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Danny Devenny and Paddy Molloy are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Denzil McDaniel, David McDaniel and Trevor Birney are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Deceased hunger striker Bobby Sands (seated fourth from left). The Star of the Sea football team.
Hunger striker Bobby Sands funeral procession making its way down Stewartstown Road on Route to Milltown cemetery
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Brendan Byrne, Aisling Higgins, Trevor Birney and Paul Higgins are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Brendan Byrne, Fran Rowlatt McCormick, Ben Rowlatt McCormick, Andrew Tully and Trevor Birney are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Brendan Byrne, Professor Siobhan O'Neill, Professor Deirdre Heenan and Trevor Birney are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Trevor Birney, Martin McCann and Brendan Byrne are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Brendan Wright, Catherine James, Jennifer Wright, Siobhan Wright and Trevor Birney are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Rita Harkin and Stephen Douds are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Sharon Curran and Eva Grossman are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Bobby Sands funeral
©Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com - Press Eye Ltd -Northern Ireland - 1st March 2011. Launch of the Hunger Strike 30th Anniversary Exhibition in the Linen Hall Library, Belfast. Ten republican prisoners died during the 1981 protest inside the Maze Prison. A letter written by Bobby Sands on cigarette paper which was smuggled out of the prison pictured at the exhibition.
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 The audience at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 The audience at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Michele Devlin, festival director, Belfast film festival pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Michael Fassbender stars in Hunger, the film about the last six weeks in the life of Bobby Sands
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 The audience at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 The audience at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 The audience at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 The audience at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Kieran Doherty died in the Maze prison in 1981 after being on a hunger strike
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Aisling and Seamus Higgins are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Paul Mullin and Cathy Church are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Press Eye Belfast - Northern Ireland - 31st July 2016 Ciaran Morrison and Cath Kelly are pictured at the film premiere of Bobby Sands: 66 Days at the Omniplex Cinema at the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast. The premiere was hosted with Féile An Phobail and West Belfast Film Festival. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye
Former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald pleaded with Ronald Reagan to pile pressure on Margaret Thatcher over the hunger strikes

Meanwhile the producer of the film says it will be "challenging for all of us".

Trevor Birney from Fine Point Films told the Impartial Reporter: "We didn't go into this film without thought and recognised of course that, for many unionists and republicans, the hunger strikes remain a very difficult period.

"But my children know very little about this time, and they certainly won't learn anything about it in school, and yet this was a critical moment in our recent history.

"That's a very good reason to do a film like this."

Belfast Telegraph

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph