Derry’s Dead Children

This is a memorial garden in Westland Street, Derry, in remembrance of children who have died during the Troubles.

They are listed in the following order on the main stone: Bernadette McCool, Carol Ann McCool, Damien Harkin, Gary Gormley, Annette McGavigan, Manus Deery, James O’Hagan, Gerald Doherty, Daniel Hegarty, Tony Diamond, Gordon Gallagher, Kathleen Feeny, Michael Meenan, John McDaid, Paul Whitters, Stephen McConomy, Charles Love.

McGavigan was the first to die at the hands of British forces, in September 1971, though the cross on the right is to nine-year-old Damien Harkin, who was crushed in July 1971 by a British Army lorry accident in the Bogside (MFD). Gary Gormley was also crushed by an armoured car (MFD). McGavigan is depicted in one of the murals in the ‘Bogside Gallery‘ series: The Death Of Innocence.

Other deaths were earlier but did not involve British forces: the McCool sisters died in a premature explosion in Creggan in 1970 and James (Jim) O’Hagan was killed in August 1971 by a fellow IRA member.

Gerry Doherty, Kathleen Feeney, Tony Diamond, Gordon Gallagher, Michael Meenan, John McDaid, and Charles Love also died accidentally by their own or IRA actions (MFD profiles, which lists 20 children, adding David Devine, Joseph Connolly, and Kathryn Eakin). Charles Love was killed by flying masonry from an IRA bomb; he is remembered by a plaque in Fahan Street. There is also a plaque to Stephen McConomy in Fahan Street and long ago he was depicted in a mural in Glenfada Park.

The Manus Deery plaque under the tree to the right was previously on a wall behind the Bogside Inn, before the pub was torn down – see M01919.

On the left are words from WB Yeats’s The Stolen Child, also used in a Belfast mural to Julie Livingstone.

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cross] X10904

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