Broadcaster insists child victims of the Troubles must not be forgotten

Broadcaster insists child victims of the Troubles must not be forgotten. Photo copyright Quasihuman CC3

Irish journalist Joe Duffy has vowed to not let the child victims of the Troubles in Northern Ireland be forgotten.

The RTE broadcaster has written a new book and documentary about the tragic victims of the conflict.

Broadcaster insists child victims of the Troubles must not be forgotten. Photo copyright Quasihuman CC3

‘Children Of The Troubles’ sees Duffy and journalist Freya McClements speak to the families of the children who lost their lives.

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Duffy said: “People got used to it in the South. We ignored it and went on with our lives. It was as if the killing in the North, that we heard about every morning, was happening in the Maldives.

“How were children who were killed on this island, 40, 30, 20 years ago? How come their names never made it into the newspapers?”

The Dublin native added that for lessons to be learnt from the past, the full story must be told.

He said: “The book should be sent to every MP in the House of Commons. Nobody can justify any violence again, from any side.

“As one of the parents said, ‘The bullet that killed my child, James Kennedy, still hasn’t stopped travelling’.

“It didn’t just travel in distance, it travelled in time because it had catastrophic effects on lots of my family.”

Duffy continued: “It suddenly struck me, we were coming up to the 50th anniversary of the first child killed in the Troubles in Northern Ireland, that’s Patrick Rooney who was killed in Belfast in his own home in 1969.

“But there was no official record of all the children killed, with my research, my aim was to tell the story of their lives, to try and humanise the numbers.

“As one parent said, all my child became when he died was a number, 3,500 people killed in the Troubles and she wanted him remembered as a human being with hopes and aspirations.

“I was a social worker in a previous life and realised when I did the Easter Rising book that children can be forgotten about pretty quickly.

“We were interviewing one family in Forkhill on a Saturday afternoon and it was the first time they’d met the family of the other child who was killed in the same bomb.

“I remember saying to them, ‘Is this upsetting bringing it all back for you?’ and they say how can you bring back something that’s never gone away.

“They said, ‘We think of our Martin every single day.’

“One of his brothers was badly injured and permanently disabled because of the same bomb so he was like, ‘You’re not bringing it back, why would we forget our son or daughter?’

Children of the Troubles the documentary was broadcast on RTE and may be available to view online depending on your locations. The book is available to buy now.

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