The Notorious Glenanne Gang, RUC and UDR by day, and Killers of Innocent Catholics by night. They got their Orders right from the Top of the British Establishment. Why? We can never forget the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings, and the Miami Showband?

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Viewers Were Blown Away And Furious Watching 'Unquiet Graves' Last Night

Unquiet Graves, the story of the notorious Glenanne Gang, and their collusion with the RUC and British security forces, was aired last night on RTE 1, and it made for harrowing viewing.

Narrated by Stephen Rea and directed by Sean Murray, the film chronicles the gang’s murderous rampage through the so-called “murder triangle” in Tyrone and Aramgh in the 1970s, killing Catholic civilians, and focuses on British collusion in the deaths of 120 civilian victims.

As the film’s synopsis states: “The British government knew that collusion was going on and condoned it. The suffering of victims and survivors is today compounded by the refusal of both the Irish and British governments in dealing with the past by facing up to their responsibilities in pursuing truth and justice for those affected.”

“The film hopes to redress an imbalance within public discourse while also offering a contextual appreciation of these tragic events from the perspectives of the families themselves, an important procedure not adequately afforded by institutional broadcasters in cases of state violence.”

One of the most shocking part of Unquiet Graves was the exposure of a plan, that was ultimately nixed by the UVF, to attack a primary school, killing all children and teachers in the building. The incredible revelation naturally drew a huge reaction from viewers.

There was shock and anger throughout the broadcast, with many calling on the British and Irish state to do more to bring justice for the families of the murdered civilians.

If you missed Unquiet Graves, you can watch the 75 minute film on the RTE Player now.

SEE ALSO: The Troubles And Boxing – How One Defeated The Other

Unquiet Graves
est Belfast film maker Sean Murray talks about the documentary Unquiet Graves and the Glenanne Gang to the Irish News Picture by Hugh Russell.

ALLISON MORRIS15 June, 2018 01:00

Former RUC man and self confessed Glenanne Gang member John Weir.

A DOCUMENTARY about the loyalist Glenanne Gang – who were thought to be responsible for more than 120 killings in an area of Mid Ulster once dubbed ‘murder triangle’ – took four years to complete.

West Belfast filmmaker Sean Murray said he could have made the film in two years but said it “wouldn’t have been the documentary he wanted to make”.

The film, which was funded from charitable donations, crowd funding and from the filmmaker’s own pocket, tells the story of a gang of loyalists, that included members of the security forces, involved in a sectarian campaign of terror from 1972 until 1978.

Narrated by Oscar-nominated actor Stephen Rea, it finishes with a reading of the ‘Strand at Lough Beg’, the famous poem by Seamus Heaney he wrote in memory of his cousin Colum McCartney, who was shot dead by members of the Glennanne Gang dressed as UDR soldiers in Newtownhamilton in 1975.

“I contacted Stephen Rea probably about a year after we had started the film,” said Murray, the son of leading republican Sean ‘Spike’ Murray.

“The one condition he had was that he wanted approval from the Heaney family, which of course we needed to do anyway. Once we got that over the line Stephen was amazing and his voice really brings another dynamic to it.”

Read more: Widow who came face to face with notorious killer tells her story

Catholic priests Fr Denis Faul and Fr Raymond Murray, who started to highlight the activities of the murder gang back in the 1970s, said at the time that the RUC had “a 100 per cent failure rate” when it came to convicting loyalists for murders in the area.

More than a decade ago the Pat Finucane Centre and journalist Anne Cadwallader started to research the activities of the Glenanne Gang.

The book, Lethal Allies by Ms Cadwallader, provided the basis of the research for the documentary, which also takes the same name.

However in the course of the making of the film Mr Murray said he managed to uncover new details of how the gang operated after speaking to ex-RUC man and self confessed Glenanne gang member John Weir.

Former RUC man and self confessed Glenanne Gang member John Weir.

That meeting happened after Mr Murray was put in contact with the former RUC man by Margaret Urwin of the Justice for the Forgotten group, who had previously managed to link the gang to the Dublin Monaghan bombings which claimed the lives of 33 people and a full term unborn baby in May 1974.

Weir, who was convicted for the murder of Catholic shopkeeper William Strathearn in April 1977, currently lives in South Africa, where Mr Murray travelled to interview him last year.

“I asked him at the end of the interview did he regret it, and he told me he didn’t regret anything and he’d be a liar if he said did, but he’s very, very frank.

“With any of the people I spoke to it was about leaving some kind of legacy. I think they’ve looked back at what they’ve been involved in and they want to do something positive before they go.”

With the consultation on legacy arrangements currently underway the west Belfast man says storytelling, like the Glenanne documentary, should be a part of that healing process.

“The process isn’t just about the film being released, it was about people putting their trust in others to tell their story, to leave an historic legacy and documented narrative behind for future generations.

“To include some victims in the documentary and not all 120 was a very difficult creative decision to make, but one story is all their stories,” he added.

* Unquiet Graves will premier at Galway Film Festival on July 11, before going on tour.

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