Still ‘in the dark’ on museum expansion

The Glenfada Park building had been earmarked for demolition before the Bloody Sunday Trust stepped in some years ago.
The Glenfada Park building had been earmarked for demolition before the Bloody Sunday Trust stepped in some years ago.

The future of a £2million expansion for Museum of Free Derry remains unclear, despite it being seen as central to the Bogside’s regeneration.

Earlier this week, the Bloody Sunday Trust confirmed that the extension was in doubt because of the delay in the DETI Minister Arlene Foster releasing the letter which would trigger capital funding from the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

The local organisation felt obliged to go public about the delays following intense media speculation.

£1.2m funding from NITB would complete the funding package for the redevelopment, together with £0.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £0.3m from the Department of Social Development already granted.

Bloody Sunday Trust chairperson Conal McFeely said: “We have a letter from Alan Clarke, head of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, dated 26 February, stating that our application was ‘only awaiting Ministerial approval’. Seven months on and we still haven’t received that approval.”

Mr McFeely said that the Trust had met with senior NITB officials since February and tried many ways to resolve the situation but remained “completely in the dark” as to the delay.

“The delay, and the speculation over its cause, is unhelpful in building community confidence, community relations and our shared future... The extension to the Museum of Free Derry, together with the new museum being built by the Apprentice Boys of Derry, would be a very positive development for this city, not only highlighting two of the biggest events in our history but also showing that they can be remembered and studied together in a non-contentious manner.”