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Miami Showband survivor Stephen Travers has no issue with plaque honouring 'Jackal' Jackson

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Part of the loyalist exhibition which incudes plaque honouring Robin Jackson

Part of the loyalist exhibition which incudes plaque honouring Robin Jackson

Part of the loyalist exhibition which incudes plaque honouring Robin Jackson

Part of the loyalist exhibition which incudes plaque honouring Robin Jackson

Stephen Travers

Stephen Travers

Part of the loyalist exhibition which incudes plaque honouring Robin Jackson

A musician who survived a UVF murder bid has said he has no issue with an exhibition of loyalist memorabilia, despite it including a plaque honouring one of the men alleged to have been involved in his shooting.

Stephen Travers, a member of the Miami Showband which was targeted in a bomb and gun attack on July 31, 1975, said he would have gone to see Saturday's exhibition if he had been in Belfast.

Three of his bandmates were murdered when their tour bus was ambushed as they returned to Dublin after a gig in Banbridge.

Mr Travers, then aged 24, was shot and seriously wounded, and survived by pretending he was dead.

At the weekend, items billed as the 'largest collective of conflict memorabilia ever displayed together' went on show at the Raven Social Club in east Belfast.

The 'Loyalism Development' exhibition was organised by the Ballymac Friendship Centre and friends of east Belfast loyalist and community worker Ian Ogle, murdered last January.

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Part of the loyalist exhibition which incudes plaque honouring Robin Jackson

Part of the loyalist exhibition which incudes plaque honouring Robin Jackson

Part of the loyalist exhibition which incudes plaque honouring Robin Jackson

The display of items included a plaque bearing the words 'in memory of Volunteer Robin Jackson'.

Robin Jackson, also known as The Jackal, was a one-time commander of the UVF's Mid-Ulster brigade and widely rumoured to have been involved in terrorist attacks including the Miami massacre.

Mr Travers said he had received an email from Washington that same morning alerting him to the exhibition, but did not know what the memorabilia included.

"Either way, if it starts a conversation and gets people talking and there's dialogue, isn't it better than killing each other?" he said.

"If I were in Belfast I would go and see that (the exhibition) myself. I like to see how these things are done.

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Stephen Travers

Stephen Travers

Stephen Travers

"A long as it's an honest discussion and people aren't trying to rewrite history, I'm fine with that.

"It's good all these things are being brought out into the open."

Asked if he found such an exhibition offensive, he replied: "It's a lot less offensive than getting a bullet in the gut. We are a long way from that now and I hope things like that never happen again."

Since the attack, Mr Travers has been involved with peace projects and four years ago co-founded the Truth and Reconciliation Platform (Tarp), a charity aimed at giving Troubles' victims from all backgrounds an opportunity to tell their story.

In a statement, the exhibition's organisers said: "For a conflict about which so much has been written there remains a fact that some key elements remain misunderstood or overlooked.

"Ulster loyalism is an example of this. We are committed to working with others to change this.

"It's a reality that for those within the loyalist community who played an active part in the conflict, their families and their supporters, there are many stories to be told, from the formation of the UVF in 1912 through to its central role in the conflict, which ended with the Combined Loyalist Military Command ceasefire in 1994."

Belfast Telegraph