Northern Ireland news

SDLP councillor to sue Glenanne Gang filmmakers

SDLP councillor Denise Mullen (right) and pictured aged three at her father Denis's funeral in 1975. Inset: Denis Mullen 
Connla Young

AN SDLP councillor whose father was killed by a notorious loyalist murder squad is to sue the makers of a documentary about the deadly gang.

Denise Mullen was three when members of the Glenanne Gang murdered her father at their home near Moy, Co Tyrone, in September 1975. The gang included RUC, UDR and UVF members and was responsible for dozens of sectarian murders in the 1970s.

Mr Mullen (36) was a prominent SDLP member and a veteran of the civil rights movement.

The activities of the murder gang have been turned into a documentary, Unquiet Graves – the Story of the Glenanne Gang, by Belfast filmmaker Sean Murray.

However, Ms Mullen claims her family’s information has been used in the film without her consent and that her privacy has been breached.

Read More: Councillor can never forgive father's UVF killer

The SDLP Mid Ulster District councillor said she has instructed a solicitor to take legal action against the filmmaker and the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), an organisation which supports relatives of people killed during the Troubles.

Ms Mullen said that after initially agreeing to cooperate in the making of the film she changed her mind. She said she then told a representative of the PFC that her father’s case was not to feature in the film.

“I’m sick and tired of victims being used,” she said.

She claimed that Sinn Féin is hosting a showing of the film in Carrickmore, Co Tyrone, next month.

Filmmaker Sean Murray

“It goes against my ethos and my father’s ethos. My parents were civil rights activists,” she said.

Narrated by Stephen Rea, the film has generally been well received.

It was funded from charitable donations, crowd funding and from the filmmaker’s own pocket. The book Lethal Allies, backed by the PFC, provided the basis of the research.

The film was launched last year and will be shown in Belfast this week.

In a joint statement, Mr Murray and the Pat Finucane Centre said they were “genuinely sorry” that Ms Mullen did not support the film.

“The overwhelming response from other family members to the film has been emotional, cathartic and positive,” they said.

“They have welcomed the fact that the film conveys a collective sense of loss, grief and injustice.

“No individual has benefited financially from the production which was made by a number of individuals working pro bono over four years. Indeed, Unquiet Graves is a non-profit venture and the filmmaker has already confirmed that should any profits be made, itself a difficult challenge, these would be put back into the Glenanne families’ campaign for justice.

“The fact that even one family member is clearly unhappy is a matter of deep regret.”

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