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Brighton bombing horror recalled: Sombre ceremony marks 30th anniversary of bid to wipe out the Cabinet

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The Grand Hotel in Brighton after the IRA bomb in 1984

The Grand Hotel in Brighton after the IRA bomb in 1984

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Staff at The Grand Hotel  gathered to observe a minute's silence to mark 30 years since the bombing at the weekend

Staff at The Grand Hotel gathered to observe a minute's silence to mark 30 years since the bombing at the weekend

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The Grand Hotel in Brighton after the IRA bomb in 1984

A solemn minute's silence has been held in Brighton to mark the 30th anniversary of the bomb which ripped through the Grand Hotel, killing five people and seriously injuring 34 others.

The intended target of the IRA terrorist attack was prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her Tory Cabinet, who were staying there during the Conservative Party conference.

The flag flew at half mast over the hotel as staff and members of the public gathered in the lobby for a minute's silence to remember the injured and the dead.

The brief ceremony took place in front of a plaque marking the bomb's 25th anniversary, which was unveiled by former Tory minister Lord Tebbit.

The Grand's general manager, Andrew Mosely, said: "The 60 staff who are on duty today gathered around the plaque that was unveiled by Lord Tebbit.

"I said a few words to pause and reflect and remember the five people who were killed and 34 injured, the guests at the hotel, members of the community, the emergency services and so many other people who were affected by what happened that night."

Patrick Magee, who planted the deadly device, was handed eight life sentences at the Old Bailey in 1986, with a recommendation he serve a minimum of 35 years.

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He was released in 1999 under the Good Friday Agreement – having served 13 years. Lord Tebbit, writing in the Sunday Telegraph, said he could not forgive the bomber.

The then trade and industry secretary was severely injured in the blast and his wife Margaret was left paralysed from the neck down and needing 24-hour care.

He wrote: "I am often asked if I can find it in my heart to forgive the creature, Patrick Magee, who planted the bomb," he wrote.

"That, of course, is not possible, for Magee has never repented. It was not he who decided to commit that crime in Brighton, financed it and procured the bomb that he planted. If he was repentant and wanted to see justice done, he would have told the truth and named those guilty of those crimes."

He added: "Yet, for many victims of the conflict, including my wife, justice has not been done. Think of 'the disappeared' who are denied even the dignity of a decent burial by the silence of those who know the truth. And without that justice, peace in the province is not as secure as it might be."

Background

The IRA bombing of the Tory conference at Brighton's Grand Hotel on October 12 1984 almost succeeded in killing Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Five people died and 31 were injured after the bomb, which had been set on a long delay timer, went off at 2.54am. Thatcher was still awake at the time, working on her conference speech. She famously went ahead with it the following morning.


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