PROJECT TITLE: Past in the Present
by Elle Rowan
I have been photographing brothers and sisters who lost a parent during the decades of conflict in Northern Ireland. Today the peace process here is held up as an international example, but beneath the headlines of peace, the pain of the past is still very much evident. The detail of many killings are forgotten outside close family circles. My photographs are an illustration of how violence committed in the 1970s, 80s and 90s is still real and raw today. I met the families I photographed through the organisations "Relatives for Justice" and the WAVE trauma centre. Those photographed in my project lost fathers and mothers in gun and bomb attacks. When the Northern Ireland conflict is reported internationally it is most often remembered in terms of headline events such as the Enniskillen and Omagh bombings where there were multiple deaths. Many of the people I have photographed have been forgotten in the news coverage that recalls decades of violence. This project is a reminder that the past still exists in the present. For families who had a loved one killed the horrific detail is as clear and as real today as it was twenty, thirty or forty years ago. My work helps to remember the forgotten.
CAPTION: John and Katherine FinucanePat Finucane was a prominent Belfast lawyer who was murdered by loyalists at his home in February 1989 while eating dinner with his wife Geraldine and his three children Michael, John and Katherine. For twenty-five years his family have campaigned for an Independent International inquiry to establish the truth. It is accepted that there was collusion in the killing, the question that is still to be answered is, who wanted Pat Finucane dead?
Jude and Isadore Whyte
Margaret Whyte was fifty-two years old and she was a taxi driver and part-time secretary. She was killed along with a police constable Michael Dawson when a bomb exploded in the early hours of the morning on April 12th 1984. The device, in a sports bag, had been left on a window sill. One of Margaret's sons, Jude, later became a member of the Victim's Forum in Northern Ireland along with others representing victims from many different backgrounds and experiences.
Patricia and Ciara Mc Ilvenna
Patricia and Ciara describe their father Sean, a member of the IRA, as being on "active service" the day he was shot dead in December 1984. The IRA exploded a bomb in which seven UDR soldiers were injured. Sean McIlvenna was shot when a police patrol arrived on the scene. His daughter Ciara said he was "murdered." Ciara and Patricia, two of seven children, were seven and three at the time.
Paul and Leah L'Estrange
Martin L'Estrange was shot dead in a printing works in August 1994 just weeks before the first of two ceasefires announced by the IRA and the loyalist organisations. Those statements, heralding the beginning of the peace process, came too late for the L'Estrange family. Loyalists who carried out the murder falsely claimed that the printing works published the republican newspaper An Phoblacht.
Siobhan and Roseann Clinton
In April 1994 loyalists fired shots through the living room window of the Clinton family home on Belfast's Ormeau Road. Theresa Clinton who was thirty-three years old was murdered in the attack. The UDA said her husband Jim was their intended target, but Theresaís daughters Roseann and Siobhan, who were thirteen and three at the time, are adamant that the gunmen knew they were shooting at their mother.
Stan and Betty Carberry
More than forty years after Stanislaus Carberry was shot dead by the army, his family are using the courts to try to establish the truth behind the shooting. His son, Stan, one of six children, says his father was unarmed, had his hands in the air and was ìmurdered" at the time. The incident dates back to November 13th 1972. Stan says he and his family will never give up in the search for truth and in their demand for a proper investigation of the facts.