Children of the Rising author Joe Duffy to co-author book on Troubles’ child victims
Duffy and co-writer Freya McClements appeal for families’ help to make book complete
A mural in Derry of Annette McGavigan, who was killed age 14 in 1971. Photograph: courtesy of McGavigan family
Broadcaster and writer Joe Duffy is to follow up his bestseller Children of the Rising with Children of the Troubles, a collaboration with journalist Freya McClements, a regular Irish Times contributor.
Hachette Books Ireland will publish Children of the Troubles, the stories of the young victims of the conflict, in autumn 2019, the 50th anniversary of the death of the first child killed during the period: Patrick Rooney, who died in August 1969.
To date, there is no complete list of the children who were killed, and the book will commemorate for the first time each of these lives which have effectively been written out of history. The authors, from Dublin and Derry respectively, have already been working together on the project for over a year, and are now making a public appeal for information to the families of the children who were killed.
Joe Duffy said: “I discovered during my research into the forty children killed in the Easter Rising that the families simply wanted their relatives publicly remembered. It wasn’t about blame, simply about commemorating and honouring these young children were part of our history. We wish to make contact with every family who lost a child as a result of Troubles, to give them the opportunity to take part in the book, and to share information, photographs and memories of Northern Ireland’s lost children.
“Our initial research using information in the public domain, from books to newspapers and broadcast media have already indicated that the number of children (age 16 and under) who were killed as a result of the Troubles has been significantly publicly under recorded and underestimated.”
Co-author Freya McClements said: “This is the first book which will focus solely on the children who were killed during the Troubles, and we hope it will go some way to righting the wrong which has seen many of the Troubles’ youngest victims being effectively forgotten by history. We’re deeply grateful to the families involved, and to organisations like the Pat Finucane Centre, Innocent Victims United and Relatives for Justice who are working alongside us.
“However, it is vital for us to make sure that we attempt to make contact with the families of every child killed, in order to offer every family the opportunity to take part, and would like to appeal to any families who may not yet have heard from us to get in touch so that we can tell them more about the project and how they might be involved.”
Harry Feeney, brother of Kathleen Feeney (14), who was killed in 1973, has endorsed the project: “We as a family believe that this book will memorialise our sister who loved life and died too young. Kathleen will never be forgotten by her family and we truly appreciate her also being publicly remembered as the fun loving girl she once was.”
Martin McGavigan, brother of Annette McGavigan, who was killed age 14 in 1971, said: “We as a family have never forgotten Annette and we think it’s only right that all of the children who were killed in the Troubles should be publicly acknowledged and remembered. The McGavigan family are delighted to be involved in this important project, and we would encourage other families like ours to get involved and make their voices heard.”
Also involved in the book are sisters Donna Macaulay and Lisa McKean. “Paul Maxwell, our much loved brother, died in 1979 when he was 15 years old. It is so important that he and all other children who died in the Troubles are remembered not as statistics but as individuals whose lives were cut tragically short.”
Publisher Ciara Considine said: “Children of the Troubles is an important and timely book. Already the research shows that the record of those young lives lost in this difficult period of history is not wholly accurate, nor have those children been appropriately and publicly honoured. As publishers of Joe’s ground-breaking Children of the Rising, we are delighted to have acquired this book, and we look forward to working with the remarkable team that is Joe Duffy and Freya McClements.”
To get in touch with the Children of the Troubles project, email email@example.com or ring +44 (0) 7724 005667 or +353 (0) 87 699 0702.