‘Aftermath’ exhibition opened by Dr Maurice Hayes

Dr Maurice Hayes, former chairman of the Ireland Funds, mediator and political analyst has officially opened ‘Aftermath’ – an exhibition of photography, film, music and audio addressing the conflict at the County Museum, Dundalk.
‘Aftermath’ brings together people directly affected by trauma to share their experiences through, music, film and photography. Filmmaker and ‘Aftermath’ director Laurence McKeown along with commissioned photographer Anthony Haughey have worked closely with the participants to produce a major touring exhibition and programme of curated events.
A wide range of people from both sides of the border attended the event including Alan Brecknell whose father, Trevor, was shot dead in a public house in south Armagh on December 19th 1975. Alan now works for the Pat Finucane Centre and is also a member of the Northern Ireland Victims & Survivors Forum.
Alan’s father was killed on the same night that Dundalk was rocked by a car bomb, killing two men and injuring many. The Aftermath exhibition features Margaret English, daughter of Hugh Watters who, along with Jack Rooney, was killed in the 1975 Dundalk Bombing on Crowe Street.
In 1969, the largest evacuation of refugees since World War II took place in Ireland as thousands of people fled across the border to escape the unfolding conflict in Northern Ireland. In subsequent years, the border counties continued to be heavily impacted – many people were injured or killed in bombings and shootings while others were imprisoned or displaced.
In the mid-1990s, increasing political and economic stability created the conditions for a new demographic shift with the arrival of asylum seekers and refugees from all over the world. These people often experienced the same fears and anxieties as their counterparts from the north a generation earlier. They also encountered similar suspicions and prejudices on arrival in their new homes.
‘Aftermath’ sets out to explore the less visible signs of post conflict which reveal underlying questions connected to hidden histories, unresolved antagonisms, and personal hopes and dreams.
Speaking at the opening of the exhibition in the County Museum, Dundalk, curator Brian Walsh said: “Dundalk and indeed Louth was tremendously affected by the conflict and by the huge influx of people from across the border.
“The County Museum was very keen to be involved with the ’Aftermath’ project which has, without a doubt, gone some way towards addressing numerous issues between people at the heart of the conflict, those who were displaced from their homes and suffered tremendous loss.”
The Aftermath exhibition will run in the County Museum, Dundalk until October 25. Opening hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 10am – 5pm. Admission to the exhibition is free.
The County Louth  ‘Aftermath’ project has been being jointly organised by Diversity Challenges in partnership with The Integration Centre, the County Museum Dundalk and the Rural Community Network. It has received funding from Co Louth Peace and Reconciliation Partnership under the EU Peace III Programme.

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