For Immediate Release—Thursday, January 25, 2007


Mary E. McCrank

Media Relations Officer

(585) 245-5516

SUNY Geneseo Students to Discuss "Northern Ireland and the Troubles" During Film Series in February

Geneseo, N.Y.—Six students at the State University of New York at Geneseo have organized a series of presentations on "Northern Ireland and the Troubles." The students spent the fall 2006 semester participating in a directed reading group on the Troubles, which explored firsthand accounts of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland, and will outline the long history of religious tension in Northern Ireland.

On January 30, 1972, one of the most notorious episodes in the turbulent history of Northern Ireland occurred in the city of Londonderry. In the midst of a march to protest the British government's suspension of due process rights for suspected Irish Republican Army supporters, British soldiers fired on protestors and killed 13 civilians. Although controversy surrounds the events of "Bloody Sunday," it is universally recognized as a key date in the history of Northern Ireland.

The student presentations coincide with the 35th anniversary of Bloody Sunday and are part of Geneseo's Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration.

Geneseo students Rob Adamo, Lauren Chechanover, Lisa Hofstetter, Pat O'Neill, Claire Ruswick and Lauren White will present a 90-minute introduction to the history of the Troubles and Northern Ireland Feb. 2. During the following three weeks, the students will present films and lead discussions on topics relating to Northern Ireland and the Troubles.

The students' presentation and the film screenings will all be held at 3:15 p.m. on Fridays in February in 201 Newton Hall. The series are free and open to the public.

The presentation on Feb. 9 is titled "Bloody Sunday." During this presentation, the film, "Bloody Sunday," will be screened. The film covers the events of Jan. 30, 1972, when British paratroopers fired on a crowd of civil rights marchers in Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

The presentation on Feb. 16 is titled, "Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights during the Troubles." During this presentation, the film "In the Name of the Father" will be screened. The film presents the story of Gerry Conlon, an Irish laborer living in England who was falsely convicted of participating in the Irish Republican Army bombing of a pub in Guildford and his subsequent arrest and torture by British authorities and his ultimate exoneration.

The presentation on Feb. 23 is titled "Life in Northern Ireland during the Troubles." During this presentation, the film "The Boxer" will be shown. This film is a fictional story set in Belfast during the Northern Ireland peace process and covers the difficulties of everyday life in a war zone.

"These presentations are important because they cover a topic that has significant relevance to the modern world," says Joe Cope, assistant professor of history and supervisor of the directed reading course.

"The students will show the connections between the situation in Northern Ireland during the 1960s through the 1990s and the civil rights movement here in the United States," says Cope. "There will also be similarities drawn between fighting terrorism in the United States and Northern Ireland."

For more information, e-mail Joe Cope at or visit


Written by Joe Mignano, public relations intern in the Office of Communications and Publications.