Trauma, Denial and Acknowledgement: The Legacy of Protestant Displacement in Londonderry-Derry During the Troubles

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The demand for truth and justice by victims and survivors are an integral part of any post-conflict transitional process that seeks to meaningfully address and deal with conflict-related trauma and hurt. The violence of the Troubles in Northern Ireland has typically been measured using standardised assessments (e.g. number of deaths, injuries, economic impact). Much of the focus with regards to addressing legacy has, understandably, centered on the needs and interests of those who lost loved ones or those physically and psychologically harmed through shootings and bombings. But there are other forms of violence, harm and trauma which need to be considered and addressed, including the legacy of forced displacement. Based on semi-structured interviews with those who experienced forced movement, this article seeks to map issues of legacy, truth and acknowledgment onto the experiences of Protestant displacement in Londonderry-Derry’s West Bank over the course of the conflict. The article finds that experiences of forced movement represent both an individual and collective form of hurt and trauma. Moreover, the lack of public recognition, acknowledgement, and in many instances, denial by nationalists and republicans is adversely impacting upon contemporary cross-community relations. In considering the narratives of the displaced, this article suggests a strong need to broaden our understandings of conflict related violence in Northern Ireland to include displacement and its long-term impact on individuals, families, communities and community relations.


  • Forced Displacement
  • Protestants
  • Legacy
  • the Troubles
  • Northern Ireland


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