Clergymen and civic leaders have this week paid tribute to a vital counselling service that’s been providing outreach to victims of the ‘Troubles’ in Derry for 25 years.
Creggan Parish Priest Father Joe Gormley, Archdeacon of Derry, Rev. Robert Miller, and the Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Maolíosa McHugh, were of all of one mind when attending the official launch of WAVE Trauma’s new offices at 25-30 The Diamond on Wednesday.
WAVE, a grass roots, cross community, voluntary organisation that was formed in 1991 to support people bereaved of a spouse as a result of violence, launched the office on the summer solstice, an ideal opportunity to look forward whilst not forgetting the past.
WAVE’s project manager in Derry, Johann Coyle, explained: “We chose today as our official opening because it is a day of remembrance created to acknowledge and reflect upon the conflict in Northern Ireland, the ‘Day of Reflection’ has been held annually since 2007 on the 21st June, the Summer Solstice; it was chosen for this date as the solstice was deemed an opportunity for looking both forward and back.
“The staff at WAVE Trauma Centre would like to take this opportunity to thank the Mayor, Maolíosa McHugh, for officially opening our new building along with Rev. Miller and Fr. Gormley for leading the Reflection Service.
Rev. Miller said he was only too pleased to support what he regarded as a worthwhile, but sadly, still badly needed, service.
“I think the reality is that those who are survivors or victims of the ‘Troubles’ often need an opportunity to process, and be supported as they do process, trauma,” he said.
“It’s obviously a very difficult thing and traumatic memories, they’re not just remembering a difficult time, sometimes they’re re-traumatised and re-experiencing it, so the support of a centre like this is key.
“It’s also intergenerational. So you have people who have been affected as children, or even grandchildren, of those who have lost their lives,” said Rev. Miller.
Fr. Gormley said he was acutely aware of the demand for services like those provided by WAVE in his own parish of Creggan.
“It is such an important service that WAVE provides. Over 25 years they have been at the frontline of addressing all those who have been victims as a result of conflict here. They are doing a very, very goo d job on that.
“I know from the great people of my parish that the conflict has had a huge effect on their lives.
“Johann has been up with us already in Creggan and wants to do outreach with us. We’d be only happy to help in any way,” said Fr. Gormley.
The Mayor concurred: “I’m not only pleased to be here, but it’s a great privilege, as Mayor, to be here to support WAVE and the work that they are doing. It’s work of a critical nature in many respects, not only in this city but in the wider community as well.
“I still think that within our community there are people that maybe haven’t even got to that degree where they are accepting in themselves that they would benefit from the services such as those provided here.”
WAVE continues to offer care and support to anyone bereaved, injured or traumatised through civil unrest in the North, irrespective of religious, cultural or political belief.
Contact WAVE on 02871266655 or visit www.wavetraumacentre.org.uk