Voices From the Vault

Voices from the Vault

Supported by funding from


Assisted by Arts Ekta in development of Story-telling Toolkit http://www.artsekta.org.uk/



This project sets out to collect the oral histories from former Royal Ulster Constabulary (George Cross) (RUC(GC)) Officers and former An Garda Siochana officers to record their experiences as police officers during the conflict in and about Northern Ireland (better known as ‘The Troubles’)



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 Green and Blue Across the Thin Line collected 40 stories from former officers and their families of their experiences. There is interest in how this work can be expanded to examine in more depth the situations that faced police officers and families from both RUC and Garda. 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. This work will add to that collection.



  • In this project the partnership of the RUC George Cross Foundation, IPA Ireland (Border Region) and IPA UK (N.I Region) and Diversity Challenges which led Green and Blue are promoting Voices from the Vault.


  • Diversity Challenges has obtained funding from The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience this funding will run until the end of June 2017 and will cover the costs of the project. http://www.sitesofconscience.org/


What we have done


  • Ran an accredited training course in Storytelling for 17 people including former members of the RUC/Garda. This skilled the participants in Storytelling and enable them to use the skill in this and any other oral history project. They received NI Open College Network 3 credits level 3 Using Storytelling to deal with the past. A qualification is necessary to undertake the collection of stories as part of the project.
  • Collected 42 stories from along the border covering as wide a number of subjects as possible from former police officers and their families. Each participant has a transcript of their story and a CD of the audio.
  • Developed 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.
  • Set up a web page dedicated to Green and Blue. green-and-blue.org the web page has transcripts of stories and audio files.
  • Published a book with extract from 39 stories.
  • Had visit of former Garda to Belfast meeting with RUC GC at the Police Memorial Garden (photographs of visit on web page).
  • Researched the possibility of developing drama from the stories.
  • Presented at conferences in Sarajevo, Skopje and Antwerp on Ethical Storytelling
  • Held closing event conference September 2014 celebrating project.
  • Worked with other storytelling projects for example Border Roads to Memory and Reconciliation http:/www.borderroadmemories.com Crows on the Wire http://www.crowsonthewire.com, Glortha Aduaidhand (Northern Voices) and The Story Telling Network.
  • We are exploring how we can work with the IPA internationally so that police and former police from countries with former or current conflicts can learn from this process.
  • We are working with PSNI and An Garda Siochana as to how the learning from the storytelling process can contribute to the understanding of serving police and recruits.
  • With Kabosh Theatre commissioned the writing of script for play based on the stories collected. The play is to be performed in the Autumn of 2016 starting as part of the International Belfast Festival and then touring. Post the performances there will facilitated discussion. In addition there will be two performances for the ‘police family’ one in Belfast and one in Dublin.
  • Sites Of Conscience Story-telling ToolkitDiversity Challenges with funding from Sites Of Conscience Project  funding has developed a toolkit to assist others working in post conflict situations to develop ethical story-telling projects. The Toolkit will be shared with Sites members and will be published on this website. Diversity Challenges received assistance from Arts Ektra http://www.artsekta.org.uk/


For more information contact Will Glendinning Coordinator Diversity Challenges

31 Bessbrook Road Markethill Armagh BT60 1RJ 00447710174754

e mail diversitychallenges@hotmail.com