A Derry man who was repeatedly interrogated during the ‘Troubles’ said he has no problem with the names of the security personnel killed being included in a museum installation.
Frankie McMenamin said that he could not understand why people were so opposed to a video listing the names of all those killed locally during the ‘Free Derry’ period.
A campaign has been launched locally calling on the Museum of Free Derry to get the names of security, RUC and army personnel, who lost their lives from 1969 to 1972 in Derry removed from the installation, which also features the names of civilians killed during the same period.
A petition with 1,000 signatures was handed into the museum this week, while a protest outside the recently revamped Glenfada Park facility was expected to take place today.
Those at the helm of the campaign include relatives of some of the civilians killed in Derry during the early ‘Troubles,’ while other relatives have said they have no issues with the video. Representatives from the museum have said that the installation concerned has been on display for a decade and has been seen by thousands without anyone ever raising concerns before.
Mr. McMenamin, who helped to source artefacts for the museum, said it was “very sad” that people had started a campaign against a factual installation.
Mr. McMenamin said he wanted to speak out in a personal capacity and as someone who is a supporter of the museum project. He said: “This is not on the wall at the museum to ‘commemorate’. It is a factual telling of what happened during the first three years during the ‘Troubles.’ It doesn’t say ‘in memory of people’.
“Personally, I can’t believe people are actually making an issue out of this. Anybody who has a problem with this should come in and see it for themselves and they might ask themselves, ‘why are they making an issue about this? There is nothing in that film that I would be offended by.
“People from all walks of life would come in and visit the Museum of Free Derry from all around the world. Does that mean others who had people killed can turn around and say they were offended because members of the IRA were mentioned in it too and does that mean that their names should be removed?
Mr. McMenamin said he came from a republican, but “open-minded” family and had had relatives incarcerated during the ‘Troubles.’ He said his own parents “went through hell” with their home getting raided repeatedly during the conflict.
“I myself would have been constantly harassed by the army and especially the RUC,” he said. “I would have been a victim of torture. I was ‘lifted’ quite a few times and even though I was never in anything, I was battered, kicked around, for hours made to stand up, slapped around, spat upon. I’ve actually been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress from the ‘Troubles.’
“I could look back and feel bitter about that, but I have let go of that part of my past. This is not something I want to be talking about but I feel as a human being, somebody who is glad we have peace and who has moved on, I had to speak out. I haven’t forgotten what happened and I still have issues with it, but thank God I can say I don’t have any hatred or bitterness against the people that hounded me and my family for years.
“I know people are entitled to their point of view but they need to sit down and rethink. Nobody is looking for people to forget the past and let go.”
Mr. McMenamin also pointed towards anthologies of those killed during the ‘Troubles’ and published in the North, stating this was a factual statement of what happened just like the video recording at the Museum.