Unique research project set for New Lodge Six

A ground-breaking piece of research is due to be carried out investigating how the conflict has affected generations of families in the New Lodge area.

The unique piece of research commissioned by Droichead an Dóchais will look at the families of the six men shot dead by the British army in February 1973 as well as the families of those people who survived the attacks.
The aim of the project is to investigate and chronicle the effects the tragedy had on their lives and on the lives of future generations.
The Community Relations Council is funding the exercise and over the coming weeks people will be asked to give their account of how their lives changed in February 1973 when Jim Sloan, Jim McCann, Tony Campbell, Brendan Maguire, John Loughran and Ambrose Hardy were killed and Charlie Carson was severely wounded.
The research is expected to be completed before the end of March and Michael Culbert, who is a member of Droichead an Dóchais’ advisory committee said the project was unique in its aim.
“This is a unique piece of research which hopes to track and document trans-generational trauma.
“In the past we have had a community inquiry into the New Lodge Six killings, which gave a full account of the tragedy and highlighted their quest for answers and justice.
“This piece of research is different in that we are trying to focus on the general health and well being of the victims and survivors of the killings,” said Michael Culbert.
The research and its questionnaires will also be looking at an apparent widespread negative image of the area.
“I am convinced that these were normal people who were living in abnormal times. Negative comments about the area that it is run down and that young people are running amok are casually thrown about. There might be certain grounds for this, but we need explanations,” the North Belfast counsellor said.
“Poor health and a high level of mental health issues in the area have to come from somewhere and we will be looking into this alongside effects of the conflict.”
John Loughran whose uncle was shot dead by the British army in the New Lodge Six massacre said he welcomed the initiative.
“The key part of any research is that it sets the agenda for future pieces of work and identifies key areas. How do we remedy the situation if we don’t identify the cause and extent of the problem?
“Through this research we are trying to create a context in which we can examine other atrocities in which families have been bereaved and had their rights denied. We need to look at all of these issues and examine them.”
A local councillor involved in the project said she thought it was important to establish what affect the conflict had on bereaved families.
“I would welcome this piece of research. I believe it’s important to find out what the needs of the area are,” Sinn Féin councillor Carál Ni Chuilín said.
“It’s important to understand what services people are accessing and if they’re not accessing them, then why not? Just because the families haven’t got justice doesn’t mean they can’t get support in the interim. In fact for anyone who feels they have been affected by the conflict it’s important to talk to someone.
“They could contact Droichead an Dóchais on 9074 2255 or myself at the local Sinn Féin office on 90740817.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

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