The Derry Model is the newest project of the Bloody Sunday Trust.
Funded by EU SeuPB - PEACE IV Funding, this ambitious four-year project launched its ‘Conflict Transformation & Peacebuilding Project’ in 2018 with the aim of sharing the city’s valuable experience in overcoming contentious disputes like parades, conflict and legacy issues.
Why can we reach agreement in Derry when other areas still struggle? What have we learned here and how can these lessons be taken elsewhere? The Derry Model has long-since been heralded as a model for progress and meaningful change - and the Bloody Sunday Trust intend to explore this concept and what it means in real terms.
If we could bottle what appears to work so well here, could it help others? We believe it can. Drawing on our own rich experience and expertise, we hope to share these lessons and open up pathways for real discussion and dialogue. Participants have included ongoing campaigns like McGurk's Bar and the Stardust families, republican and loyalist groups, community groups, marginalised women's groups and British army veterans dedicated to seeking dialogue.
The Derry Model welcomes two new additions to the small team at the Bloody Sunday Trust/Museum of Free Derry. Heading the project is Derry native and former Sinn Féin assembly member, Maeve McLaughlin, alongside Martin Crossland as Project Support, Finance & Administration Officer. The project is based in Rath Mor Centre, Creggan.
Ahead of its launch last year, the Irish News aptly reported:
‘The Derry Model will be based on a number of breakthroughs pioneered in the city. These include the city council’s decision to share power in 1973, making it the first public body in the Northern Ireland to do so. It will also focus on the agreement reached over contentious parades between the Apprentice Boys and Bogside residents’ group in 2000 and on the Bloody Sunday justice campaign and subsequent British government apology.’ (Seamus McKinney, Irish News)
With fifteen visits per year over the next four years, groups will be invited to spend two days in the historic city of Derry, undertaking tours of the Museum of Free Derry and the Apprentice Boys’ Siege Museum, screenings, events and meeting those who took part in seminal achievements locally. Through honest, open discussion, the project encourages cohesion and change at a community level.
Speaking at the time of the project's launch, Chairman of the Bloody Sunday Trust, Robin Percival, said the project was a unique opportunity to tell the story of Derry’s role in vital areas.
‘The Museum of Free Derry has been inundated with separate requests from organisations throughout the north of Ireland and beyond wishing to learn, not just about our troubled past, but about how major issues of contention have been processed with positive outcomes,’ Mr Percival said.
Feedback from participants in The Derry Model:
From Module 1: Legacy and Justice (13 & 14 June 2018)
'Attending the module was a wonderful experience. We especially enjoyed the workshop with John Kelly. We look forward to returning.'
'The hunger for justice including legal persecutions has not abated. Those responsible need to be held to account and face legal process. A sense of the families running out of time?'
'With the Dublin /Monaghan group there is often a sense of being forgotten, outside the British legal system.'
'Should campaign groups come together more and work together?'
'What do families want? will this change over time, what will the grandchildren of victims want, will they wish to be involved or continue the campaign?'
'The evening session was very information however one questions raised at the end of the session, which is telling was, where are the Unionist voices?'
From Module 2: Parading (June 2018)
'I would feel encouraged to push for more open dialogue and make people aware that it is happening…'
'Dialogue is the key to reaching accommodation even if agreement cannot be reached...'
' An excellent opportunity for people to see another perspective other that their own.'
'It was inspiring.'
'Very interesting to have an insight to what happened elsewhere.'
From Module 3: Dialogue (10/11 Sept 2018 with Short Strand)
'We need more dialogue like this past two days. More information about what help is available, and more talk between the groups like Galliagh and Belfast Woman's Group.'
'I would love to come back with other groups - it was so interesting and the dialogue between groups was great.'
It was a fantastic few days for everyone. I would recommend to all groups to come and take part.'
'I feel this has been a very informative and rewarding module. I think this would also be excellent to use with youth groups as well as giving them the information of what happened here years ago.'
'The learning from the two days has been enlightening and really inspiring'
From Legacy & Justice Module (16/17th October 2018 with Stardust Group)
'We would like to thank the Bloody Sunday committee for their hospitality and help with our struggle for Justice and Truth with the campaign for Justice for the 48.
'An excellent module really well run and also a lot of time and energy and work has gone into it. A lot of other problems areas could really take a lot from this module.'
'The module is incredible. Long may it continue for to promote peace, here and around the world.'
'Forgiveness is the key to recovery. Acceptance of rights and wrongs on both sides has to be part of it.'
'The speakers gave us a great insight into how they achieved so much for their campaigns, and it has given us families more determination and drive to push for truth and justice.'