23 January 2006

Free Derry period examined

Daily Ireland

Documentary plans to examine the ‘no-go’ period after the Battle of the Bogside

by Ciarán O’Neill

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A new documentary on the historic Free Derry events of 1969 is to be screened by the BBC later this year.
The programme is entitled No Go — The Free Derry Story. It will also be screened in cinemas and at several film festivals.
The Derry-based film company Open Reel Productions has been commissioned by the BBC to make the documentary.
The programme will feature interviews with people caught up in events surrounding the Battle of the Bogside and the eventual creation of the Free Derry zone.
There will also be previously unseen footage from the period.
The Battle of the Bogside took place in August 1969. The nationalist population in the Bogside area of Derry took to the streets to confront the RUC in the wake of an Apprentice Boys parade in the city.
The riots continued for almost three days and resulted in more than 1,000 people being injured. The “battle” ended when, in an unprecedented step, British troops were deployed to Derry, a decision that was to shape the future of the North for more than 30 years.
The new documentary will focus on the nine-week period after the riots.
Open Reel spokesman Vinny Cunningham said it was an important period in Irish history.
“The three-day ‘battle’ ended when the British army arrived on August 14, 1969. However, the barricades surrounding the Bogside area and others remained intact.
“Some weeks after the army’s arrival, in a surreal twist, the barricades were replaced by a single painted white line marking the ‘borders’ of Free Derry, which the British army and the RUC agreed to respect and didn’t violate. It was to be nine weeks or so before any British security presence would enter.
“The documentary will concentrate on the period between 14th August 1969 and October 1969,” he said.
Mr Cunningham said the documentary would include interviews with people from the Bogside and members of the British army and the RUC. He said the production company was keen to hear from former Irish army personnel stationed along the Border, particularly the Derry-Donegal border, in 1969. “This is an important historical documentary. We want to hear people’s memories and recollections of that period between 14 August and mid-October 1969,” he said.

My cousin, who lives in Ballymena, had mentioned this documentary to my father in a phone call, just this weekend, in fact. I'm hoping that it will either be shown stateside, or a DVD made available at some time.

Love your site, by the way. Just came upon it, and I'm certain that I'll be back.

Oh, there's an interesting poem at my blog, by a fella that I'm thinkin' might be somewhat familiar with Ireland.

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