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12 Days in July

Director/Producer: Margo Harkin
Co-Producer: Fionnuala Sweeney
Production: Besom Productions Ltd.
Broadcaster: Broadcast on 21 July 1997 on Channel 4


TWELVE DAYS IN JULY goes behind the scenes at Drumcree in Portadown in the summer of 1997 to chronicle the crisis that was unfolding between members of the Orange Order and residents of the Garvaghy Road. The film gives a valuable insight into the passions and the pain behind the Drumcree crisis, often seen as a microcosm for the problems of Northern Ireland.


Besom Productions gained access to the two disputing parties – the Orange Order and the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition – to record this compelling account of the events which were to become so significant in forcing a change in the political climate. Producer Margo Harkin says, “Getting beyond the surface of the issue was very difficult at first, as both sides were extremely sensitive about media coverage, fearing political repercussions and their own personal safety. Our location directors and crew achieved a remarkable level of trust over a short but intensive period of time”.

The documentary follows some of the people caught up in the conflict. On the nationalist side is the Garvaghy Road Community which fears for the future of its children. Together with the Residents’ Coalition they are determined to bring the parade to a halt under the leadership of Coalition spokespersons, Eamon Stack, a Jesuit Priest, and Breandán MacCionnaith a former prisoner and now an elected Councillor. Those making preparations for the Orange Order are just as determined that the Parade should go ahead. Press Officer, David Jones, addresses the issue of civil and religious liberty for the First Portadown District Loyal Orange Lodge LOL1 while Orange members of the Portadown Defenders Band and local Orangemen, Clifford Forbes, remain defiant in their intention to march.

The documentary gives an insight into the deeply held convictions on both sides and reflects the tangible atmosphere of fear and claustrophobia that quickly spreads across Northern Ireland as deadlock on the Garvaghy Road route approaches again.
Early on Sunday morning (6th July 1997) the cameras record how the police and army, in full riot gear, move in to remove the arms linked protesters from the Garvaghy Road. As political leaders move rapidly to prevent further confrontations, 12 DAYS IN JULY provides an important insight in to these two polarised communities who present a stern reminder about the future that faces Northern Ireland if the fragile peace process continues to falter.

Domestic viewing copies available on DVD for £17 (inclusive of VAT) plus postage and packing. For Institutional rates and/or other teaching purposes, please contact Margo at