Thomas Dixie Elliot shares his thoughts on a film he viewed at the weekend.
Sharon and I went to see I Dolours today and we seen a committed and brave IRA Volunteer telling her own harrowing story. What struck me was the haunted eyes of someone who, like her sister Marian, carried out orders without question and who did terrible things in the belief that what they were doing was right. Who remained seated when asked to go and bomb England when others got up and walked out of the room unable to do it. Dolours couldn't understand why they didn't want to go as she wanted to take the war to their door.
The Brits were waiting on them she told us and when asked if she believed there was an informer - she said yes without hesitation - in Belfast.
The actress who portrayed Dolours as a young IRA Volunteer was so like the older woman it was uncanny, especially the eyes.
What both she and Marian experienced during their prolonged hunger strikes and forced feeding would have broken most people and the experience was so bad that they both became anorexic.
She spoke about ferrying explosives across the border several times a week in the panels of a car and of how she charmed the British soldiers on the checkpoint and they became so used to her that they often called her by her fake name as she pulled up.
Then there was the 'Unknowns' of which she was a part in that she drove those about to be executed and disappeared across the border to their deaths. She said that Jean McConville admitted to being an informer and that she was arrogant in her belief that she wouldn't be shot, so much so that when the two were alone in the car, Jean McConville, not knowing that Dolours was in fact an IRA Volunteer, said to her, I knew the Provo bastards wouldn't shoot me.
Dolours said that the IRA in Louth wouldn't shoot a woman so three volunteers were brought in and they took her to a ready dug grave where each one shot her before a Louth volunteer buried her. No names were mentioned.
Joe Lynskey was the last of the 'Disappeared' who she spoke about, he wasn't an informer but had set up another Volunteer to be shot because he was having an affair with the volunteer's wife. She told how Lynskey had accepted his fate and had taken an overnight bag with him as they travelled over the border in a car. She said she didn't want to do what she was doing but it had to be done and she hoped that Lynskey would punch her in the face and run off and get a ferry. He didn't and she left him with other IRA Volunteers having said their goodbyes.
During this whole film only Gerry Adams was mentioned by name twice and a member of the 'Unknowns' who had died in America. In fact Ed Moloney said after the film that this person had in fact become a screw in America before he died of cancer.
At one point Dolours was asked did she believe that the disappearing of informers was a war crime and without hesitation she said it was, they were informers and deserved what they got but their bodies should have been left on the street as a warning to others, not disappeared.
Go and watch this powerful film and you'll not see someone 'touting' on her comrades but a truly courageous woman who carried out orders and had to live with what she had done to the end of her days. Look into her haunted eyes and you're looking into the soul of someone who went through what she and many others went through only to be betrayed eventually. Try telling me that this wasn't a story that had to be told.
Ed Moloney spoke at the end about the project and the reasons it was shut down and he did say that the IRA volunteer who dug Jean McConville's grave was working for the Gardai and was saved from the same fate because his father was a leading member of the Movement in Louth. The most shocking thing about this, he said was that the authorities in the South were aware of where McConville's body was buried but choose to keep silent about it.
It was a pleasure to speak with Ed and his lovely wife Joan.
Thomas Dixie Elliot is a Derry artist and a former H Block Blanketman.
Follow Dixie Elliot on Twitter @IsMise_Dixie