Monday 19 February 2018

Impact of conflict brought under the microscope at 'Aftermath' exhibition

Kathy Gilroy-Barry and Stephen Barry.
Kathy Gilroy-Barry and Stephen Barry.

'AFTERMATH', an exhibition of photography, film, music and audio addressing the conflict is now open at the County Museum, Dundalk.

The exhibition brings together people directly affected by trauma to share their experiences through, music, film and photography.

Filmmaker and director Laurence McKeown along with commissioned photographer Anthony Haughey have worked closely with the participants to produce a major touring exhibition and programme of curated events. The exhibition was officially opened by Dr Maurice Hayes, former chairman of the Ireland Funds, mediator and political analyst, and runs until October 2h.

A wide range of people from both sides of the border attended the opening, including Alan Brecknell whose father, Trevor, was shot dead in a public house in south Armagh on December 19 1975. Alan now works for the Pat Finucane Centre and is also a member of the Northern Ireland Victims and Survivors Forum.

Alan's father was killed on the same night that Dundalk was rocked by a car bomb, killing two men and injuring many. The Aftermath exhibition features Margaret English, daughter of Hugh Watters who, along with Jack Rooney, was killed in the 1975 Dundalk Bombing on Crowe Street.

In 1969, the largest evacuation of refugees since World War II took place in Ireland as thousands of people fled across the border to escape the unfolding conflict in Northern Ireland. In subsequent years, the border counties continued to be heavily impacted, with many injured or killed in bombings and shootings while others were imprisoned or displaced.

In the mid-1990s, increasing political and economic stability created the conditions for a new demographic shift with the arrival of asylum seekers and refugees from all over the world. These people often experienced the same fears and anxieties as their counterparts from the north a generation earlier. They also encountered similar suspicions and prejudices on arrival in their new homes.

Speaking at the opening, curator Brian Walsh said: 'Dundalk and indeed Louth was tremendously affected by the conflict and by the huge influx of people from across the border.

The Argus

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