Belfast Telegraph

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

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.

"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.

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


From Belfast Telegraph