Concerns over Foyle Museum artefacts

RAILWAY MUSEUM. . . .North West of Ireland Railway Society members George Haire, Jim McBride and George Sweeney pictured outside the Foyle Valley Railway Museum on Wednesday afternoon. DER4814MC036
RAILWAY MUSEUM. . . .North West of Ireland Railway Society members George Haire, Jim McBride and George Sweeney pictured outside the Foyle Valley Railway Museum on Wednesday afternoon. DER4814MC036

The North West of Ireland Railway Society has accused Derry City Council of failing to consult it on the future of Foyle Valley Railway Museum and its contents.

Society member Jim McBride also claims the future of the Foyle Road museum and the collection of artefacts built up over decades remain in limbo.

Mr McBride said the society owns around half of the material which makes up the museum. He claimed however that despite this, the society has been unable to secure a meeting to discuss the timetable of the council’s plans for the museum.

Derry City Council has been taking expressions of interest about the future use of the publicly-owned railway site after the end of March, when the council ceases to exist.

Mr McBride said: “Why is this being rushed through days before the new supercouncil takes over? Why is there this unseemly rush to get it done? We are still being kept in the dark and the council haven’t been in touch with us. We have not been invited over to discuss what happens.”

At its Annual General Meeting in Dublin last weekend, the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland also raised the matter of the Foyle Valley Railway Museum and furnished its members with responses to a number of questions put to Derry City Council about the museum and its contents.

Meanwhile, commenting on Mr McBride’s concerns, a spokesperson for Derry City Council yesterday told the ‘Journal’ “Expressions of interest for the future use of the site are currently being accepted by Derry City Council and that process will close on January 30th. Council will continue to work with all partners to find a suitable recreational use for the site over the coming weeks.”

She added: “The museum contents will form part of a report that will then come before Council for review.

“We will also be engaging with organisations such as the North West of Ireland Railway Society to plan the appropriate future of the museum artefacts to ensure the preservation of their significant historical value.”