Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

15 May 2024

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A hugely powerful film

Film review: 

‘May-17-74 Anatomy of a Massacre’. 

Directed by Joe Lee, produced by Fergus Dowd with Justice for the Forgotten. 

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This is a hugely powerful documentary, setting out, at feature film length and in great detail, the facts of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 50 years ago this month. 

The film-makers have put the survivors and the relatives of the dead to the forefront and their testimony is riveting. The accounts of the ordinary lives being lived before the bombings are moving; the re-living of the bombs and their horrific aftermath is harrowing. 

Bernie McNally

• Bernie McNally 

What struck me most was how the bereaved and survivors were totally abandoned by successive Irish governments and largely forgotten by wider Irish society. Those injured and those who lost relatives just got on with their lives and for many years most of them were unknown to each other. Bernie McNally tells of how little she knew of the bombing in which she was badly injured, unaware even of the number of the dead.

Bernie went on to play a leading role in the aptly named Justice for the Forgotten. So too did the Margaret Urwin, for long the tireless and dedicated mainstay of the campaign.

Margaret Urwin

• Margaret Urwin

This film is a damning indictment of successive Irish and British governments. The Fine Gael-Labour government in office in 1974 allowed the Garda investigation to be closed down after four months. Vital evidence was handed over to the RUC, leads were not followed, suspects were not interviewed. British crown forces’ involvement was suspected from the beginning and evidence for this mounted over the years. The Barron Report pointed to collusion, the Dáil repeatedly called for the British government to release its files but it refused.

The campaign for the full truth continues. All credit to Justice for the Forgotten and the film-makers for shining a very bright light in the darkness. 

‘May-17-74 Anatomy of a Massacre’ is currently showing in The Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield, Dublin. 

Also showing: 

IFI Cinema – 6.30pm, Thursday 16 May

Nerve Centre, Derry – 7.30pm, Friday 17 May 

Garage Theatre, Monaghan Town – Friday 17 May

Boole UCC, Cork – Saturday 22 June

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