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Mary McAleese Chairs Conference on the Troubles

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Former President of Ireland and Distinguished Visiting Professor in Irish Studies at St Mary’s University, Twickenham Prof Mary McAleese chaired a conference on the Troubles at the end of January. Held on the 44th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the conference entitled Troubles, Tragedy, Trauma: Northern Ireland’s Historic Legacy explored the legacy of over 40 years of violence in Northern Ireland and the impact of the conflict on families. Contributors at the event included Alan McBride whose wife and father-in-law were killed in the 1993 Shankill Fish Bar bombing, Stephen Travers, who survived the 1975 Miami Showband massacre, and Eugene Reavey, who lost three brothers in a gun attack at their home in Armagh in 1976. The conference, conceived by MA Irish Studies student at St Mary’s, Michael O’Hare, whose sister, Majella, was killed by the British Army in 1976, was held at St Paul’s Church Centre in Hammersmith in partnership with the Irish Cultural Centre. Speaking after the conference Prof McAleese said, “The pain of those bereaved by violence has a very long shelf life. Telling the truth about the circumstances of these tragic and unnecessary deaths is an essential part of the ongoing peace process." During her time at St Mary’s, Prof McAleese will teach on the MA Irish Studies programme and in particular its New Perspectives on Irish History seminar series. She will take part in a programme of public conversations during her period of appointment and will give two public lectures at the University’s Centre for Law and Culture. She also will carry out research and her teaching will draw on her experience and insights from two terms as Ireland’s Head of State and more than thirty years’ experience in Irish public life.
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