The granting of a further £500,000 to fund the Bogside’s Museum of Free Derry will be scrutinised to ensure the centre provides an “inclusive” view of the city’s history, Nelson McCausland has said.
A total of £2.4 million has already been allocated to the facility which is expected to be completed by June this year.
There are a lot of stories that need to be told - like the murder of police officersNelson McCausland
Culture minister Caral Ni Chuilin made the announcement during a visit to the Glenfada Park construction site, close to the scene of the 1972 Bloody Sunday shooting, at the weekend.
The museum has been created to “tell the story of the recent history” of the city, and “will vividly portray the impact, trauma and division of the Troubles directly, through education and the exploration of the root causes of the conflict”. Mr McCausland, a former DUP culture minister, said: “The challenge for the ‘Free Derry’ museum will be as to how it presents the facts of what happened in Londonderry. It will be of note to see whether the museum deals with the Saville Inquiry’s finding of a Thompson sub-machine gun being carried on the Streets of Londonderry on 30 January 1972.
“It will also be of note to see whether the museum deals with the murder of two police officers by the Provisional IRA in the direct lead up to that date or whether it deals with the forced exodus of thousands of unionists from the West Bank of the Foyle due to republican violence.”
Mr McCausland added: “There are a lot of stories that need to be told”.
Speaking during the visit, Ms Ni Chuilin said: “As the first museum to deal directly with ‘the Troubles,’ it will also play a significant role in the ongoing debate around how events of the conflict should be suitably remembered and recorded. I have no doubt that it will contribute immensely to the tourism and economy of the city and the wider north-west.
“I commend the Bloody Sunday Trust and the co-funders of the project for their support for what is an integral part of our shared future.”
TUV East Londonderry Assembly candidate Jordan Armstrong said: “Just last month the DCAL committee was advised that a museum may close if the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure’s budget is cut by the projected 10 per cent in 2016/17.
“Clearly that doesn’t apply to a museum whose very title tells us that it is only interested in pedalling a nationalist view of history. Once again republican pet projects have been favoured while the long promised Ulster-Scots Academy has been put on the long finger.”