Former St Joseph’s pupil relates personal Troubles tragedy

BACK AT SCHOOL. . . . .Donal Dunn, former St. Joseph's Boys pupil, presenting copies of 'To Tell You The Truth' to school librarian Fiona Harrison on Wednesday afternoon. Donal is one of twenty-two people who shared their lived experiences of The Troubles and is featured in the book edited by Eamon Baker. Included in the photo from left are Peter Smith, Head of History, Damian Harkin, Principal and Paddy McCourt, Citizenship Teacher. DER2515MC038
BACK AT SCHOOL. . . . .Donal Dunn, former St. Joseph's Boys pupil, presenting copies of 'To Tell You The Truth' to school librarian Fiona Harrison on Wednesday afternoon. Donal is one of twenty-two people who shared their lived experiences of The Troubles and is featured in the book edited by Eamon Baker. Included in the photo from left are Peter Smith, Head of History, Damian Harkin, Principal and Paddy McCourt, Citizenship Teacher. DER2515MC038
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Donal Dunn grew up in Eastway Gardens in Creggan and is a past pupil of St Joseph’s Boys’ School on Westway.

He attended ‘St Joe’s’ from 1965. He played in the school football team. John Maultsaid was his principal back then.

Those were, relatively speaking, innocent days before the Troubles came, before 1968 and the first Civil Rights March, before the Battle of the Bogside in 1969, before the tragic shooting dead of St Joseph’s pupil Desmond Beattie in July 1971.

On January 30 1972, Donal was to be caught up in the horror of Bloody Sunday and less than two years later, his father, John, was killed after a bomb, hidden by the Official IRA in his car, exploded while he was giving a driving lesson to Cecilia (Cissy) Byrne.

Cissy at that time was also living in Creggan.

Both John and Cissy worked in Ebrington Barracks, as did a teenage Donal himself.

Donal returned to St Joseph’s this week to present the school copies of the recently launched ‘Towards Understanding and Healing’ publication, entitled ‘To tell you the truth...’, which was edited by Eamonn Baker.

Says Donal: “Being interviewed for this publication gave me a chance to tell my story and our family’s story and also Cissy Byrne’s story. Who is there to remember her now?

“It’s great that I can present copies of this book of wide-ranging interviews to my old school.

“‘To tell you the truth...’ will be relevant to students of politics and history and indeed to anyone in my old school who wants to learn more about what happened here in this part of the world during the Troubles.

“There are interviews here from people from all different backgrounds- victim-suvivors of British Army violence, Loyalist violence, Republican violence.

“Some of the interviewees, as members of paramilitary groups, inflicted violence. Some of the people interviewed speak of what has helped them to try to come to terms with the traumatic incident(s) in their lives, about what has helped them move from being a ‘victim’ to being ‘a survivor’ and more.

St Joseph’s principal Damien Harkin said: “I am delighted that Donal, one of our past pupils has visited today to bring copies of ‘To tell you the truth...’.

“The stories in this publication are very human and very moving. Each person’s truth is presented unvarnished, warts and all, if you like.

“This new publication will be a valuable addition to our school resources and we want to thank Donal for making this thoughtful gesture.”