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Colin Parry in peace studies plea: lessons should be compulsory in all schools, says father of boy killed by IRA

By Chris Kilpatrick

The father of a 12-year-old boy murdered in an IRA bomb attack has called for compulsory peace studies lessons in all schools.

Colin Parry lost his youngest son Tim on March 20, 1993 when two IRA bombs went off in Warrington town centre in the north of England.

Tim had been looking for a pair of football shorts at Gold Square shopping centre when the bombs exploded in litter bins nearby.

He received serious head injuries in the attack in which three-year-old Johnathon Ball died instantly and another 56 people were injured.

The young boy died in hospital from his injuries six days after the bombings.

Since then former HR worker Mr Parry has set up a peace centre — the Foundation for Peace — along with his wife Wendy and has met Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams as well as former IRA commander Martin McGuinness several times. Mr Parry said more needs to be done to prevent potential terrorists and the radicalising of young people.

He has called for peace studies to be made part of the national curriculum.

“I can’t understand why the government doesn’t think peace studies wouldn’t be a worthwhile curriculum subject to teach in schools,” he said.

“In the world we now live with a multicultural country and where the seeds for mistrust and conflict are ever more present I would say peace studies should be taught.

“I think prejudice develops at a very early age, whether it’s because parents display prejudice in front of their kids or whether we have communities in split areas rather like in Ireland, it’s very easy to ferment distrust and manipulate it.”

The peace centre opened in 2000 on the seventh anniversary of the bombing.

The couple met Mr Adams in London in 2007 and received an apology from him. Several years later they met Deputy First Minister Mr McGuinness in Warrington.

Mr Parry received some criticism from other victims of IRA violence when he addressed a Sinn Fein-organised conference in London in 2013.

He was criticised again when he invited Mr McGuinness to speak at the commemoration of the 15th anniversary of the Warrington bombings in the same year.

He shared a platform with Mr McGuinness in west Belfast last January.

Mr McGuinness said he was shocked by the Warrington bombs which he described as a “terrible event”, acknowledging that they had been carried out by what he termed as “my brand of republicanism”.

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