Victims share their Troubles tragedies

LOCAL people affected by violence during the Troubles have shared their personal and tragic experiences with others during an exchange programme.

Around 30 members of South Down Action for Healing Wounds group visited Lisnaskea in Fermanagh to speak about and listen to experiences of terrorism.

After receiving funding from the Community Relations Council, the local group organised the trip to the South East Fermanagh Foundation, where they watched a DVD of the Fermanagh group’s members recounting their tragic tales.

The DVD is complemented by a book of the same title, and both tell of the extreme pain, loss and heartache caused by the IRA attacks on members of the SEFF group.

The group also took part in a border trail - a tour along the roads and lanes of the surrounding area where many attacks took place.

The local group’s Spokesman Gavin Hughes said it was an emotional experience.

“The Trail was a very moving experience, with many of our own members able to relate to the circumstances, and we were given a real sense of how terrible it had been for these folk, living in the area in the past,” he said.

“The tour finished with a visit to the memorial built by the SEFF group, which is based in the grounds of the Holy Trinity Church of Ireland, Lisnaskea. The well thought-out and poignant memorial pays respect to those who paid the ultimate price, and lost their lives serving their country.”

He also paid tribute to groups such as the Fermanagh foundation, for the wrok they are doing with victims.

“Groups like these are doing so much to meet the needs of often forgotten or neglected innocent victims of terrorism in our society. In many cases these Victim Support Groups are the only place where these folk feel they can receive help and support. It is essential this work is funded and maintained to provide the continued support in this area, with government provision of necessary funding and vital support.”

The South Down group thanked their Fermanagh counterparts for their time and the Community Relations Council for their funding.