Miami Showband survivor to speak in Londonderry

Stephen Travers meets with former fans �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1531-276PB
Stephen Travers meets with former fans �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1531-276PB

Miami Showband survivor, Stephen Travers will visit Londonderry to take part in a conversation with Archdeacon Robert Miller (Church of Ireland) later this month.

Stephen is a survivor of the horrific attack on the Miami Showband on the road south from Banbridge after a very successful gig there, on July 31, 1975.

The lead singer of the band, Francis O’Toole (Fran) and two other members of the Miami, Brian Mc Coy and Tony Geraghty were shot dead by UVF gunmen who fatally messed up their attempt to make it look as if the band were themselves transporting explosives.

Two of the killer gang, Harris Boyle and Wesley Somerville, died when the bomb they were placing in the Miami’s Volkswagen van exploded prematurely.

Stephen, hit by a “dum-dum“ bullet was left for dead. He survived in no small measure due both to his own resilient spirit and to the world class medical care he received at the DaisyHill Hospital in Newry.

Stephen has a profound commitment to making people aware of the devastating consequences of violence. To this end, he has been a founding member of TARP -Truth and Reconciliation Platform and believes passionately that, as a society, we must “de-glamourise” all violence from whatever source.

Fellow TARP members including Eugene Reavey and Alan McBride during presentations spell out in shocking detail the violence that has been visited upon their families in order to motivate everyone to reflect on how we could more peacefully resolve our divisions here on this island.

In 2017 Archdeacon Robert Miller and Father Paul Farren launched their “Forgiveness Remembers” publication to a very warm reception in St Mary’s College, Northland Road.

Robert, while knowing that forgiveness is central to the Christian message also believes that forgiveness is not a “fast food option”.

He is clear that forgiveness involves a journey which may have many twists and turns and he is also clear that forgiveness cannot be either demanded or required. It is an entirely voluntary process

The conversation between Stephen and Robert chaired by popular journalist Paul McFadden will be open-hearted and open-ended.

Both men will explore the nature and characteristics of resilience and discuss what role forgiveness, if any, can play in developing and promoting reconciliation within our communities.

This free event begins at 7.30pm in the Holywell DiverseCity Community Partnership Building, Bishop Street. To book a place please contact Amanda Clarke at 028-71261941.

The event is part of Holywell Trust’s Peace 4 DCSDC funded Valued Voices/Towards Understanding and Healing programme.