Derry murder victim's sister in gun attacks play

Maureen Wilkinson
Image caption Maureen Wilkinson's brother Emmet Shiels was killed when he was caught up in a confrontation with masked men on his pizza delivery run in 2008

The sister of a Londonderry man who was shot dead is appearing in a play that examines the impact of paramilitary-style attacks.

Maureen Wilkinson's brother Emmet Shiels was killed when he was caught up in a confrontation with masked men on his pizza delivery run in 2008.

Maureen is acting in a new play - Don't Shoot My Wane, Shoot Me! - that will be performed in community venues across Londonderry.

The production tackles the culture of paramilitary-style attacks. Maureen said the play is "very close" to her heart.

"I didn't even know if I could do it at the start, to be honest with you, but I thought it might help me," she added.

Emmet was delivering pizzas in the Creggan area of Derry in June 2008 when he was shot twice by masked gunmen after he tried to intervene to defend the gunmen's intended target.

In the days after his death, 1,000 people attended a vigil in his memory near the scene of the shooting.

Image caption Emmet Shiels was 22 when he was killed in June 2008, six days before his son was born.

A report by the Independent Monitoring Commission said that the INLA was responsible.

Gary Meenan was jailed for eight years in 2010 for his involvement in Emmet's death.

No-one else has been convicted.

"I haven't been able to forgive the people that killed my brother and I don't think I ever will, but I've had to leave that hatred behind," Maureen said.

Audience's secret ballot

The play follows a young man who is threatened with a paramilitary-style attack after being involved in the assault of an elderly woman.

The action is dictated by the moderator - played by Maureen - and the audience hears the story from different perspectives, including the young man under threat, his mother and the man behind the paramilitary-style attack.

Image caption The play's title came from something a mother said at a workshop when talking about her son

The audience must choose by secret ballot whether the young man should be shot.

For Maureen, the play has brought back painful memories, but it has also helped her.

"His anniversary is coming up soon and this play has helped me to deal with it - I don't feel as heavy," she said.

"It's hard to explain but I don't feel the same way as I did before."

'Answers within our community'

The play is run by the Shantallow Community Arts group based in Derry.

The premise and script were developed through interviews with families and workshops with community groups.

Ollie Green, the artistic director for Shantallow Community Arts, said he hoped it would start a debate about paramilitary-style attacks.

"These young people who are victims are from our community but, equally, those carrying them out are from our community as well," he said.

Image caption The actors interact with the audience, who are asked to vote on the outcome of the play

"We are responsible for what happens in our locality.

"It's about starting a debate to come up with better solutions.

"The answers have to come from within our own community."

The play, which is also being made into a short film, is being performed in venues in areas such as Galliagh, Creggan and the Bogside in Derry but Ollie said the issue was a wider one that affected more areas.

"It could be any estate - it's a reality for communities all across the north," he said.

"When I was growing up, I never thought these attacks would be happening today.

"It's all about changing people's attitudes."

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