Children of the Troubles

 

Sir, – We are Joe Duffy and Freya McClements, two journalists and authors who are writing a book which remembers the children – aged 16 and under – who were killed during the period known as the Troubles.

Last month marked the 49th anniversary of the death of the first child to die in the Troubles when, on August 14th, 1969, nine-year-old Patrick Rooney was shot dead in his home in Belfast. It was also the anniversary of the death of another child victim, 12-year-old Majella O’Hare. Last month Ireland marked the 20th anniversary of the Omagh bombing – which saw eight children and unborn twins numbered among the 31 dead. August was also the anniversary of the deaths of Paul Maxwell (15) and 14-year-old Nicholas Knatchbull, who were among the victims of the explosion on Lord Mountbatten’s boat in Mullaghmore, Co Sligo; killed that same day in Belfast was baby Bridgeen Dempsey, burnt to death along with her parents after a petrol bomb attack on their home.

These are just some of the children’s lives which were lost because of the conflict – a loss which, we are well aware, is felt by their families every day.

The death of any child is a tragedy, and there is no circumstance which can make it any less so.

However, many families have told us that what intensifies their loss is that many of the children who were killed have been publicly forgotten. Incredibly, to date there is no complete list of the children who died, and in many cases there is little or no information about them in the public domain. This is something we hope to address by creating not just a record of each child, but a book which will remember them as the children they were.

To do so, we would like to ask for your readers’ help. We are currently in the process of trying to make contact with the families of all the children killed during the Troubles, both to ensure that the material in the book is correct, and to invite them to share memories and photographs of their loved one. We are asking relatives – no matter how distant – of children (aged 16 and under) who died as a result of the Troubles to contact us at either of the addresses below. We will be glad to explain more about the book and, we hope, how you might be able to help with our research. – Yours, etc,

JOE DUFFY,

Dublin;

FREYA McCLEMENTS,

Holywell,

Diverse City

Community Partnership,

10-14 Bishop Street,

Derry/Londonderry childrenofthetroubles@gmail.com