Free Derry Museum: Arson 'disrespects' Bloody Sunday victims

John Kelly's brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption John Kelly's brother Michael was killed on Bloody Sunday

An arson attack on the site of the new Museum of Free Derry shows "total disrespect" for victims, a Bloody Sunday relative has said.

A fire was started when the building was broken into sometime between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning.

The museum is located in the Bogside, close to where some of the 14 victims of Bloody Sunday were killed in 1972.

John Kelly, whose brother, Michael, was killed said the damage to the building could have been a lot worse.

"I looked at it and thought: "Good God, if that had really caught fire, we could have had an explosion".

Image copyright Derry News
Image caption It is thought that those behind the fire climbed over an 8ft security fence

A £2.4m reconstruction of the Glenfada Park museum began in 2015 and is now close to completion.

Mr Kelly has been working on the project for the past 10 years.

"It shows total disrespect for my brother and all those who died during Bloody Sunday and all the others who lost their lives in that period of time, total disrespect for our family members and their memory," he said.

Image caption The rebuild in Glenfada Park is nearing completion

"The police told me there was a fire and it was in the back store, that's where we have the gas mains and electronic equipment as well.

"The building is next door to people's houses and everyone could have been affected by it. It didn't travel any further, thank God, and we still have an intact building," Mr Kelly added.

Building site foreman Dermott McGrotty said they have now improved security at the site.

"They had to climb over an eight foot fence to get in, so overnight security has now been arranged and we're making sure the doors are well secured."

The Northern Ireland Fire Service is treating the fire as deliberate. The police have appealed for information.

Image copyright Bloody Sunday Trust
Image caption An artists impression of what the redeveloped museum will look like

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