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Holy Cross show wins award

By Gráinne Brinkley

A radio documentary from the viewpoint of former Holy Cross Boys and Girls school pupils about their experiences during the Troubles picked up a prize at a prestigious radio awards ceremony, The Child of Ardoyne documentary received the Gold Award in the News Feature category at the Sony Radio Academy Awards in London on Monday night. The documentary was broadcast on BBC Radio Three last May and includes testimonies from a number of local people about life in Ardoyne during the conflict.

Of the 99 people killed in Ardoyne between 1969 and 1997 two thirds were pupils of the Holy Cross primary schools and the documentary looks at the impact on the children of the district.

English documentary maker Alan Hall is behind the radio programme He said this week he is delighted the Holy Cross story became an award winner.

“It was a terrific subject so I am very glad we won the award,” he said. “The documentary was extremely powerful and I think the judges saw that.”

Alan Hall said he first became aware of the great tragedies that befell Ardoyne when he came to North Belfast to work on a different documentary.

“I was making a programme focusing on the suicide of young men in Northern Ireland and I met Philip McTaggart from PIPS,” he said. “At the end of the process he gave me a copy of Ardoyne: The Untold Truth and immediately I was fascinated. I am English and have watched the Troubles all my life from a distance with no real understanding of what it was all about. Having visited Belfast and North Belfast in particular I became very interested and this programme focuses in the particular geographical area of Ardoyne.”

In the documentary Alan talks to Philip McTaggart about growing up in Ardoyne; Karen McGuigan about her experiences in the 1970s and then on the impact of the Holy Cross blockade on her own daughter who was a pupil in the school at the time. He also interviews local community activist Sean Mag Uidhir and Rev Harold Goode from the loyalist side as well as using news reports from the day talking about the murders of former Holy Cross pupils.

“We are hopeful now that the documentary will maybe be aired again and also maybe on Radio Ulster and RTÉ, said Alan. “It would be great to bring it to an even wider audience.”

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