Miami Showband massacre: Survivor found writing book cathartic

Stephen Travers said he confronted the tragedy in 2005
Stephen Travers said he confronted the tragedy in 2005

Miami Showband massacre survivor Stephen Travers, who now lives in Co Cork, believes he only started to move on from the tragedy 10 years ago.

Forty years ago, on July 31 1975, three members of the band were murdered by the UVF as they travelled home to Dublin from a gig in Banbridge.

Stephen, one of two survivors of the roadside killings, said on the 30th anniversary of the massacre in 2005 he “decided to think about things again, to confront them properly”.

When he decided to write a book in 2007 with journalist Neil Fetherstonhaugh he found the process “very difficult but cathartic”.

During the course of writing the book he met with a senior member of the UVF in Belfast in a bid to understand their mind-set.

“It was meant to last half an hour maximum where they would tell us how it was all a big mistake but in the end it lasted five hours,” he said.

“The man I spoke to, who was given the code name ‘The Craftsman’, didn’t want the meeting to end because he said it was therapy.”

Stephen, whose book on the massacre was published in America, has now helped write a screenplay of “the tragedy”.

He said he is now “waiting for a director to be appointed”.

“One of my great aspirations is that of a philosopher turning base metal into gold,” he added.

“If we can take this awful incident I was involved in and make it help. Who knows if young people read the book or watch the film when it comes out it could save a life.

“I have no interest in anyone else being punished for this.

“Unless people talk about these things there is the fear it could happen again. Young people don’t realise the consequences of violence.”