Brief

Aim 

To develop a storytelling project  reflecting the cooperation and interaction between former members of Royal Ulster Constabulary  and former members of An Garda Síochána along the border from the establishment of the two Police Forces to 2001.

Background

Some key points

  • Storytelling or Oral History is increasingly used as a way of recording what life was like for the ordinary person.
  • Oral history is increasingly recognized by historians as reliable source material in academic study.
  • The story of policing along the border has not been told by the officers who patrolled it. This project gives those who policed the communities on the border the opportunity to tell their story. If these stories are not recorded then they will be lost forever.
  • Others are telling their story.  It is important that if there is to be a fuller understanding of what happened then as many points of view as possible need to be heard.
  • 2022 will see the 100th anniversary of the establishment of both police forces. This project will gather important material for that anniversary and will provide skilled story gatherers to develop that history.
  • The George Cross Foundation already has an active project collecting stories from former RUC officers and has published some of these. However they do not have the story of the cross-border interaction and collaboration that took place on a daily basis.
  • In this project the RUC George Cross Foundation and the border regions of the IPA have come together and formed a Partnership with a Storytelling Group Diversity Challenges. The Partnership is now estbiished

Green and Blue Across The Thin Line

Diversity Challenges has obtained funding from the European Union PEACE III Programme managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by the Community Relations Council/Pobal Consortium. This funding will run until the end of November 2014 and will cover the costs of the project.

What we plan to do

  •  Run an accredited training course in Storytelling for 40 voluntary former members of the RUC/Garda. This will skill the participants in Storytelling and enable them to use the skill in this and any other oral history project
  • Collect at least 40 stories from along the border covering as wide a number of subjects as possible from former police officers and their families
  • Develop contact between former Garda and RUC personnel and families. Thus enabling people who may have had daily contact over a number of years but may not have met to put a face to the voice or name.
    • To set up a web page dedicated to Green and Blue. The web page to have a members’ only facility so that participants can exchange stories and maintain contact. The web page will also have public pages to promote the project.
    • With consent from the storytellers publish stories both on the web page and in a book with illustrations.
    • Work with other storytelling projects so that the police story is told by the people who were there.

Ethics

The partners have agreed

  • An ethical process where the storyteller is the key person.
  • Issues of confidentiality will be covered
  • The project will aim to ensure that there is no issue of libel or that we are involved in any investigations into unsolved crimes.
  • Tell your story

What can role can you play

Any former police officer or family member will have a story to tell. Everyday events of the past are of interest. What was then routine is no longer the norm. We are interested in the every day events not just the dramatic ones. So you have a story  and we are interested in hearing it and working with you. You can decide what you want to do with the story.  Is it for your personal use, for your family, for your colleagues or the wider public?  It is your decision.

  •  Train as a story-gatherer

Learn a new skill and help collect stories for this and other oral history projects. Get an accredited qualification in storytelling Open College Network Level III

  • Be part of meeting former colleagues from the RUC or Garda, make new friendships or rekindle old ones.

All travel expenses will be paid and there is no cost for the training or qualification.

Support

 We recognise that some memories will not be pleasant and that surfacing them inadvertently may cause distress. The project will have access to professional Counselors who will be there to assist anyone who needs help. This will be totally confidential and free of charge.

Diversity Challenges

Diversity Challenges is a peace-building organisation that has experience in the design and delivery of ethical storytelling projects. Will Glendinning as its Coordinator leads it. Supported by a team of experienced facilitators.  Will is a former Chief Executive of the Community Relations Council in NI with over 30 years experience in peace work. In the early 1970s he served in the UDR in South Armagh.

For further information about Diversity Challenges go to www.diversity-challenges.com.

How do I volunteer?

If you

  •  Want to tell your story,
  • Know of someone else who has a story to tell
  • Want to get in touch with a former colleague from RUC/Garda
  • Want to be a story-gatherer
  • Have any comments or questions

Then contact Will

Tel 0044 (0) 2837507219 Mobile 07710174754 email w.o.m.glen@btinternet.com

 

Or IPA members

Joe Lynch  joelynchipa@eircom.net

John McFadden  john.ap.mcfadden@gmail.com

Jim Gallagher  jimgallagher2009@gmail.com

Patrick Donnelly pagdonnelly@gmail.com

 

Or George Cross Foundation

rucgcfoundation@nics.gov.uk Tel 02890700116