Belfast Telegraph

Victims' group gives a voice to loved ones left behind during the Troubles

Bereaved partners' stories are 'warnings from history'

Alan McBride, Kay McGerty, Barney O’Dowd and Pauline Hegney
Alan McBride, Kay McGerty, Barney O’Dowd and Pauline Hegney
Suzanne Breen

By Suzanne Breen

The largest cross-community victims' group in Northern Ireland has launched a series of audio interviews with people who lost a partner in the Troubles.

In Stories from Silence, 21 victims from across the political divide tell how their lives were changed forever when their loved one was murdered.

They include Kate Carroll, whose PSNI husband Stephen was shot dead by the Continuity IRA in 2009, and Geraldine Finucane, whose solicitor husband Pat was killed by the UDA in 1989.

Barney O'Dowd, whose two sons and brother were shot dead by the UVF in 1976, and Kathleen Gillespie, whose husband Patsy was chained to a lorry and used as an IRA human bomb, also took part. The interviews were carried out for the Wave Trauma Centre by award-winning journalist and author, Susan McKay.

"I found the whole process very moving and I hugely respect Wave's work to support bereaved families and honour those who were killed," she said last night.

"It's an extraordinary privilege to record these stories of love and loss. The interviewees are of all ages and backgrounds.

"Some lost a loved one in the early Troubles. The most recently bereaved is Sara Canning, whose partner Lyra McKee was shot dead by the New IRA in April."

Alan McBride of Wave said it was the fourth set of podcasts launched by the group. "The first recorded the stories of those in their 70s and older who had been bereaved. The next interviews were with parents who had lost children and children who had lost parents," he said.

"There are enough services to practically help victims. Now they need truth and justice and, most importantly, to have what happened them acknowledged.

"These stories of the murder of ordinary people going about their business are warnings from history not to take our peace for granted."

The interviews can be heard at wavetraumacentre.org.uk/ story_categories/loss-of-a-partner

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