24 June 1999 Edition
New in print
By Mark O'Sullivan
Published by Wolfhound
Writing thrillers which deal with contemporary or contentious events can be a difficult task. It is near impossible to avoid allowing the author's bias from manifesting itself in the text. This is especially true about the thrillers/novels written about or based around the last three turbulent decades of Irish life.
Few authors can remained aloof from their bias or in some cases their ignorance, though most would claim too. Mark O'Sullivan in this thriller for teenagers tries, but the one or two lines let him down: ``It was about territory and driving the Protestants out. It was about revenge.''
Having said that it is an good read about two teenagers (Mayfly and Eamonn) from differing backgrounds caught up in a situation, which has the compulsory lunatic maverick ex-IRA man (Razor McCabe), the nice IRA man (Liam O'Neill), the bitter old IRA man (Eamonn Wade), the gardaí, the New Age Travellers and the ghosts of the past.
The teenagers are fighting against the obstacles they perceive to be in the way of a better way of life for each other, only to discover that as in much of life, all is not what it seems.
A fast-moving thriller for teenagers, it is not the worst I've read.
Aengus Ó Snodaigh
Springhill massacre booklet launched
``It is a sign of the times that people are taking more control of their lives,'' was how veteran Springhill community activist Fr Des Wilson opened the launch of The Springhill Massacre in the Long Gallery at Stormont on Tuesday, 22 June, the updated account of the 1972 murders of five civilians by the British Army.
The point he was making, and it is close to his heart, is that part of the vital process of building peace is that the people directly affected by the state human rights abuses must be a central part of the investigation into why and how the abuses occurred.
Fr Wilson pointed to the mass of evidence that said the Springhill massacre was part of a concerted attack, with other massacres in Derry, New Lodge and Ballymurphy. He added that with over 400 people directly killed by the RUC and British Army and countless others killed and maimed by their counter-gangs and in collusion with loyalists, the quest for truth must be supported.
The Springhill Massacre Committee also stressed that submissions are still being sought for the public hearing into the British Army's action, which is being held during this year's Féile an Phobail at St Aidan's School on 2 August.
Niall Murphy from Madden and Finucane told An Phoblacht that it was crucial that witnesses to events on the day, Sunday 9 July, 1972, come forward and give statements. Murphy, Michael Crawford and Joe McVeigh will be at Springhill Community House on Monday and Tuesday evenings to take statements. People can contact Springhill Community House or Relatives for Justice at its new offices at 235a Falls Road, Tel. 220100. Alternatively. people can contact Niall Murphy or Michael Crawford at Madden and Finucane, Tel. 238007, who can arrange for interviews. Murphy added that even if people feel that they didn't really see anything they should still come forward as they may provide invaluable corroborating evidence.