The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has launched a new film documenting the impact of terrorism on the Institution and on the families of individual members.
It features the personal account of local man Samuel Heenan, who was orphaned as a young child, when the IRA murdered his father at Legananny in May 1985.
‘Strong to Survive’ features the personal stories of a number of those directly affected by some of the most heinous attacks associated with the Troubles.
Among those to feature in the production are survivors of the Tullyvallen massacre, who recount the horror when IRA gunmen stormed into the rural south Armagh Orange hall during a lodge meeting, and indiscriminately murdered four Orangemen. A fifth member subsequently died later as a result of the injuries sustained.
Samuel Heenan’s story - how he as a young child was orphaned when his father, William, was shot dead by republican terrorists on the family farm as he tended to his livestock near Castlewellan - is also told.
Other contributors include David Kerrigan, whose sister Heather, a UDR Corporal, was killed in a landmine explosion outside Castlederg; and Nigel Lutton, who recalls the fatal shooting of his father, Frederick, a former RUC reservist, in Moy, Co Tyrone.
Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, who was among the attendees at the premiere, said the film was a “ground-breaking initiative” which offered a “poignant reminder” of the loss suffered by the Institution to republican terrorism.
He said: “Approximately one in ten of the people killed during the Troubles were members of the Orange Order. It is a painfully sad statistic that underlines just how much the Institution has suffered. We share the pain of their families and the people they left behind.”