‘Sunday’ victim’s sister says Bogside museum exhibit should be removed

Kate Nash.
Kate Nash.

The sister of a teenager shot dead on Bloody Sunday has accused the Museum of Free Derry of “insensitivity and arrogance.”

Kate Nash, whose brother, William, was gunned down by paratroopers on Rossville Street on January 30, 1972, says she is “disgusted” that the names of dead British soldiers are included in an exhibit at the Bogside exhibition space.

The Museum of Free Derrys revamped exhibition space opened in the Bogside earlier this year.

The Museum of Free Derrys revamped exhibition space opened in the Bogside earlier this year.

The names of everyone killed in the conflict in Derry from 1969 to 1972 - IRA, civilians, British Army and police - flash up on a screen at the museum.

Ms. Nash, whose father, Alexander, was also shot and injured on Bloody Sunday, wants the exhibit removed.

Last week, the Museum of Free Derry dismissed claims that the exhibit was insensitive to victims.

The Bogside museum said “misinformation” was “being spread” on social media and insisted the exhibit was a “purely factual listing” and not a “commemoration or a judgement of any sort”.

Kate Nash, however, says the exhibit has caused “hurt and anger” within her family and elsewhere.

Insisting she and her family had “no wish to add to the pain of loss of others”, Ms. Nash added: “The core issue here is that, without reference to, consultation with or permission from the relatives of all those whose names and the circumstances of their death form a single museum exhibit, the Bloody Sunday Trust took on to itself an authority that was not theirs to take.”

She added: “Why did the Trust decide that this specific ‘list’ should be an exhibit in the museum? It is not a pre-existing artefact but something they consciously decided to create and commission. They designed this list in such a way that it includes local people, non-combatants, who died at the hands of the State, and those employed by the State and others who died at the hands of the IRA.

Why did they decide to do that? Who did they consult on any of it?”

Ms. Nash accused the Trust of “a lack of sensitivity and accountability and arrogance.”

“Especially when the overwhelming local sentiment is that it is inappropriate,” she went on. “If this was the Imperial War Museum or the National Museum, this list might have some rationale and be a lot longer, but this is the people’s museum and the people’s narrative.

“To claim that because the Trust hires people who have themselves been bereaved through these events removes the need or responsibility to properly consult and be responsive to the concerns of all the families is symptomatic of the problem.”

She accused the Trust of “substituting itself for the people” and “acting as if it is answerable to nobody.”

Ms. Nash went on to ask why and when the Bloody Sunday Trust created this specific exhibit.

“They should produce the record of the who, when and how of the decision to commission and create this exhibition and inform the people, for whose public benefit the Trust exists, who was excluded/included from any consultation process and on what basis?

“Until they have secured the support and permission of all of the families of those listed on this exhibit for their inclusion, the exhibit should be removed.”