Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Bomb father: I do not forgive IRA

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will give a peace lecture in Warrington

The father of a boy killed by the IRA bomb attack in Warrington 20 years ago said he has not forgiven the terror group for murdering his son and described inviting its former commander Martin McGuinness to give a peace lecture in the town as an "audacious event".

Mr McGuinness, now the Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, was asked to speak in the Cheshire town by Colin Parry, whose son Tim, 12, died in the blast.

Mr Parry said many people have criticised the decision to have him speak, but he believes it will send a message to the UK and Ireland that the peace process is a "very mature process".

He said the question of forgiveness was a separate one.

"I haven't forgiven the IRA for killing Tim, nor has anybody in my family and we never will," he told BBC Breakfast.

"But nonetheless we're pragmatic about the principles of building good relations across communities and across nations and I think you have to be quite hard-headed about it, and if I only ever did things on an emotional basis then I'd make some horrendously bad decisions.

"So this was a hard-headed decision to get Martin McGuinness to speak to a substantially Warrington audience, to explain his history perhaps, to talk about his present position on the arms struggle, and obviously I'll speak first, so I'll set the tone - it's an audacious event."

Mr Parry said he had asked Mr McGuinness on impulse after interviewing him in April and he had said yes straight away. He said: "He's made a significant journey of his own and we've got to give him credit as he is now widely respected. History is littered with former terrorists who have become political leaders and I think Martin is the latest of that breed, and for that reason I think it's an exactly sensible decision to have him come to our peace centre."

Tim Parry was fatally injured and Johnathan Ball, three, was killed instantly when bombs planted in litter bins in the town's main shopping area were detonated shortly after midday on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

No warning was given and no one has been prosecuted for the outrage on March 20, 1993 that left 56 people injured.

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