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Bloodied but unbowed, it's business as usual for Belfast Telegraph despite IRA blast

By Amanda Ferguson

It was an act of defiance amidst the rubble of a devastating IRA bomb.

The resilience of the Belfast Telegraph will this week feature in a programme about a bombing in 1976 which killed one member of staff. The UTV series The Troubles I've Seen looks back at the events of September 15, 1976 when a van was loaded with a bomb and driven in to the loading bay of the newspaper's offices on Royal Avenue.

It detonated, causing devastating damage – but the editorial team were determined the next edition of the paper would not be stopped.

The staff managed to produce a small newspaper, "which was really an act of defiance," according to former Tele editor Ed Curran.

He has spoken of his memories of that day in the latest episode of the eight-part UTV series, which explores the stories, people and events that shaped the conflict in Northern Ireland.

The journalist, who was present on the day of the blast, said: "It was a huge bomb, it set fire to parts of the building, blew windows and doors out. Our offices were wrecked, one man in the printing area was killed, many others were injured that day and the Telegraph was put out of action."

However, Mr Curran describes the paper's determination to publish an edition.

"The following day the editor and the staff managed to produce a newspaper, a small newspaper, which was really an act of defiance," he said.

The harrowing events of the Troubles sees broadcasters and journalists recall their experiences. Belfast Telegraph journalist Alf McCreary also contributes to the next episode, which airs on Thursday at 8.30pm on UTV.

In the programme, Mr McCreary details the complexities of reporting on atrocities so close to home. In January 1976, a minibus carrying textile workers was ambushed by an IRA gang near the village of Kingsmills.

Mr McCreary, a Bessbrook native, was dispatched to cover the massacre and spoke of the impact it had on him. "It is probably only now when I talk about it at length that it again hits me and it still hurts me," he said.

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