Northern Ireland news

Miami Showband massacre survivor launches peace CD

Stephen Travers speaking at a reconciliation event
By Mairead Holland

A CD by Miami Showband Massacre survivor Stephen Travers has been launched at a reconciliation event.

The Calling was written and arranged by Mr Travers, a bass player with the band at the height of its popularity in the 1970s.

He was seriously injured by a 'dum dum' bullet when the UVF attacked the band's minibus as they drove home after a gig in Banbridge in July 1975.

Three of the band members - Fran O'Toole, Tony Geraghty and Brian McCoy - were shot dead, while Des McAlea was blown into a ditch but survived.

The song is sung by Liam Dwyer with narration by Mr Travers and is part of a project to promote peace and reconciliation in post-conflict areas of the world.

The launch was followed by a personal account by Mr Travers and other Troubles victims of their experiences and the impact on their lives. They included Eugene Reavey whose brothers were murdered at Whitecross in 1976 and Alan McBride, husband of Shankill Bomb victim Sharon McBride.

The group, known as the Truth and Reconciliation Platform, was set up in 2016. It tours venues across Ireland with its presentation, The Bomb And Bullet Legacy.

Upwards of 70 people attended the free event which was chaired by Seamus Mallon, former Deputy First Minister.

Denise Johnston, one of the organisers, said: "It is a very, very powerful presentation and can be very emotional at times.

"Although it happened in the past, this is their present. They still have to live with it."

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