‘Troubles’ women tell stories in new documentary

Carol Cunningham presents a copy of Unheard Voices - Beyond the Silence to George Mitchell in Washington DC recently.
Carol Cunningham presents a copy of Unheard Voices - Beyond the Silence to George Mitchell in Washington DC recently.

A new film which explores the lives of women whose experiences of the NI Troubles have gone largely untold up until now has been premiered in Derry.

‘Unheard Voices-Beyond the Silence’, produced by Leapfrog Communications and the Hive Studios/Creggan Enterprises, was screened at the Ráth Mór Centre in Derry’s Creggan.

The film is drawn from the book of the same name, published last year, and features the compelling stories of twenty nine women from across the community. The publication has been widely hailed by academics, political representatives and community representatives and is now recommended reading at a number of US universities, including Yale.

In 2013, Creggan Enterprises set up the Unheard Voices project supported by the International Fund for Ireland through their Peace Impact Programme which aims to engage marginalised women.

A spokesperson for Creggan Enterprises said: “We have always maintained that women are essential to peacebuilding in our community because they play a central role within the home and in our families. Their experience, their empathy, their intelligence, humanity and compassion can ripple out into wider society, influencing others for the better.

“The new film gives you a chance to hear first-hand from these unheard women for the first time. Their testimonies are powerful and gripping and contain lessons for us all. We believe the documentary is as much a story of survival, perseverance and healing as well as a record of the difficult experience.

“Hopefully we’ve helped shine a light on the lesser-told stories, the stories that might be known amongst many, but have not yet received widespread public attention.”

Conal McFeely, Development Executive of Creggan Enterprises, emphasised the importance of preserving the women’s stories.

He said: “These stories, some of which are traumatic and distressing, show how the pain of the conflict afflicted society.”

The new documentary is now available to view on YouTube.