Belfast Telegraph

Why victim's sister took part in paramilitary shooting play

Maureen Wilkinson at home yesterday
Maureen Wilkinson at home yesterday
Maureen's brother Emmet Shiels, who was killed in 2008
Maureen taking part in the new play
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

The sister of a young pizza deliveryman shot dead by dissident republicans in Londonderry has said acting in a play that tackles paramilitary shootings was one of her toughest roles.

Maureen Wilkinson's brother Emmet Shiels (22) was delivering pizza in the Creggan area in June 2008 when he confronted gunmen who were about to shoot another man - the intervention resulted in his own death. Emmet's son was born six days later.

Ms Wilkinson said that by taking part in the play, Don't Shoot My Wane! Shoot Me! - which tackles paramilitary shootings - she hopes to challenge people who advocate these violent acts.

The harrowing and provocative play has been created by Oliver Green with Studio Two in the city and will be performed this week in community centres in parts of Derry where punishment attacks are all too common.

The interactive production asks the audience's opinion on paramilitary shootings before it begins and again at the end to see if attitudes have changed.

Ms Wilkinson said: "I thought long and hard about taking part because I wasn't sure if I wanted to bring up all the memories of when Emmet was shot.

"I said if I was not comfortable I would walk away but first and foremost I am an actor so I have to put my personal feelings to one side. But once I committed to the play I loved it.

"This play has a message that needs to go out into the community - young people need to be aware they are not helping paramilitaries, the paramilitaries are helping themselves.

"If this play reaches one person and makes them stop and think 'I am doing the wrong thing here' then it will have been worth it.

"My brother was never involved in anything illegal, he didn't agree with anyone being shot but he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

"We can't bring Emmet back. It has been horrendous, he was just out trying to make a life for himself and his wee baby boy who was born six days after he died. He didn't even get to see his son. The most joyous occasion for a family is a birth but for us it was so bittersweet but this is why this play is so important."

The play will be shown tonight at Caw/Nelson Drive community centre; tomorrow, April 10 at Creggan Neighbourhood Partnership Centre and on Friday, April 12, at Pilot's Row Community Centre in the Bogside.

Admission is free but the content is not suitable for children under 11 years of age.

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