A man whose parents were killed in front of him as a child in a random sectarian attack will speak in Derry this week.
Seamus McDonald, whose parents, Mervyn and Rosaleen, were brutally murdered by the UFF in their home, will speak in the Holywell Building on Thursday, June 20.
Seamus was two and his sister Margaret just four months old when his parents, who were Catholic civilians in their 20s, were gunned down in the mixed Longlands area on the outskirts of North Belfast on July 9, 1976.
Seamus’ talk in Derry is the latest in an occasional series of testimony events organised by the Valued Voices /Towards Understanding and Healing programme, which is funded through Derry City & Strabane District Council and Peace IV.
Seamus, who now lives in Mayo, attended the Valued Voices conference on ‘Post Traumatic Growth’ last September when Professor Stephen Joseph spoke tentatively and sensitively on the theme ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.’ Seamus has kept in touch with the Valued Voices project over the past nine months and sees the upcoming testimony event as a stepping stone on his journey to find release and healing.
Speaking previously on a rare public appearance at Stormont, he related how his dad was having his dinner and his mother had her baby daughter in her arms while he was on the sofa when two men came to the door asking for his father. His mother didn’t recognise the men. She thought they were friends of her husband and invited them into the house.
“My conscious mind does not remember, maybe won’t allow me to remember those terrible and terrifying moments when my mammy and daddy were shot dead right there in front of me and my wee sister, Margaret,” he said. “She had been grabbed out of our mammy’s arms and planked in beside me in the playpen. Our father Mervyn died instantly. Our mother, Rosaleen, fatally wounded was rushed to the Mater Hospital where she died a short time after. All together the UFF killers fired more than 30 bullets.”
The free Valued Voices Testimony event on June 20, with Seamus Mc Donald begins at 12.30pm with a light lunch. All are welcome.
To book a place, please ring Kirstie at 028-71261941.