Families say ‘yes’ to Free Derry museum exhibit

The Museum of Free Derry at Glenfada Park.
The Museum of Free Derry at Glenfada Park.

An overwhelming number of Derry families who lost loved ones during the early days of the ‘Troubles’ say they support a Museum of Free Derry exhibit which names all the dead - including British soldiers and police.

The results of a recent Bloody Sunday Trust survey reveal that the vast majority of relatives of people killed during the ‘Free Derry’ period (1969-1972) approve of a visual display which records the deaths of civilians, IRA volunteers, British soldiers and RUC members.

The consultation took place after a number of relatives said they were unhappy that the names of British soldiers and RUC officers killed during the period were included beside their loved ones’ names.

The Trust subsequently contacted relatives of 36 of the 37 local people named in the exhibit and received responses from the families of 31 people - that’s a response rate of 86 per cent.

Of the 31 families who responded, 26 (84 %) agreed that the museum should retain all the names of those who died in the ‘Free Derry’ area.

The results - which have been seen by the ‘Derry Journal’ - reveal that only two families (6%) do not agree with retaining the list of names.

Another three families (10%) were unable to reach a consensus.

The survey also asked the same families if they supported the work of the Museum of Free Derry and the Bloody Sunday Trust.

Twenty-seven families (93%) said they fully support both organisations with just one family (3.5%) saying they do not.

Robin Percival, chair of the Bloody Sunday Trust, has welcomed the results of the survey.

He said: “We are particularly heartened at both the high response and the level of support we have received.

“I do hope that, with the publication of this report, the campaign of vilification directed at the Trust, the Museum and its staff will now end.

“The Museum of Free Derry is one of the ‘must see’ places to go to in Derry. It is a credit to this city and the many people, from a wide range of backgrounds, who turned a dream into a reality.

‘In conclusion, I would say we need to be mindful we live at a time when many families are denied access to justice, even to the basic requirement of an inquest and a proper police investigation.

“The primary responsibility for this lies with the British Government and the anger of our community would be better spent by being directed at them,” added Mr. Percival.