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Ivan Little

Reporting the Troubles: Why we owe it to victims, and future generations, to record suffering of the conflict

Ivan Little


More harrowing stories in second volume of book from reporters on the frontline

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Lyra McKee

Lyra McKee

Chiho Tang/Oranga Creative

Reporting The Troubles 2

Reporting The Troubles 2

Reporting The Troubles

Reporting The Troubles

Sir Trevor McDonald

Sir Trevor McDonald

Fergal Keane

Fergal Keane

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Lyra McKee

Two of the main architects of the Good Friday Agreement, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern, have contributed to a work which looks at the horrors of our past.

I’m pleased today to share the news that the countdown is on to the launch of the second volume of the book Reporting the Troubles, compiled by me and my journalist colleague Deric Henderson.

The two of us are confident that the follow-up is every bit as powerful as the first one after 70 of the finest journalists in the British Isles graced us with contributions reflecting on incidents and people that made an impression on them during the conflict.

The writers include household names like Sir Trevor McDonald, Fergal Keane and John Ware and a host of well-known reporters from nearer home.

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Sir Trevor McDonald

Sir Trevor McDonald

Sir Trevor McDonald

Another bonus is that Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern have written forewords for Reporting The Troubles 2, a project that Deric and I have been considering doing for some time.

We were proud that the first volume, with its 68 chapters, struck such a chord with so many people who didn’t go along with the argument that a line should be drawn under the Troubles and that we should all just move on.

Conversations with relatives of Troubles victims served only to strengthen the view that Northern Ireland’s tragic past mustn’t be airbrushed.

The point was also repeatedly made to us that people who were born after the Good Friday Agreement brought a semblance of peace should know what went on in the violent years.

A number of friends questioned if Deric and I would be able to find another 70 journalists for book two, but that wasn’t a problem — anything but.

The first time around, we approached older writers who had, like ourselves, been on the front line in the early days.

But while we sought out contributions from other seasoned reporters this time, we also invited submissions from a new generation of younger journalists as well.

In the book, Donna Deeney pays tribute to Lyra McKee, who was killed by dissident republicans in Derry a week after the 21st anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

Photographer Niall Carson, meanwhile, writes about how he was shot and wounded during a riot in east Belfast.

Apart from Lyra’s murder and Niall’s lucky escape, Deric and I didn’t make requests of any journalists about what subjects they should look at.

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Reporting The Troubles 2

Reporting The Troubles 2

Reporting The Troubles 2

I can’t give too much away about the contributions just yet, but there are a large number of compelling chapters that offer heart-rending new perspectives on many of Northern Ireland’s most infamous atrocities, while others bring back to mind outrages that have largely been forgotten. The book, published by Blackstaff Press, will be launched at an event next month and a number of distinguished guests will be in attendance, though I can’t reveal their names just yet.

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Reporting The Troubles

Reporting The Troubles

Reporting The Troubles

The cover of the first book attracted a lot of attention. It included a photograph which showed the aftermath of a bomb attack on Belfast’s Crumlin Road in the early 70s. For several months there was intense speculation about the identity of a female reporter in the picture. Many people were convinced she was the Beeb’s Maggie Taggart, but she was too young to have been a journalist at the time. The mystery has never been resolved, but I can say that Maggie Taggart is definitely in this book — as a contributor.

The cover photo for volume 2 has already sparked a lively debate. It shows a group of reporters and photographers being driven down Great Victoria Street in an open lorry, but we haven’t established why.

Any suggestions would be welcome.


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