Martin McGuinness death: I couldn't forgive him but he was sincere about making peace, says Colin Parry
The father of a schoolboy killed in the IRA's Warrington bomb has said though he could never forgive Martin McGuinness he believes he was sincere about making peace.
Colin Parry invited Mr McGuinness to deliver a high profile lecture in the town in 2013 - 20 years on from the attack that killed his son Tim and another boy Johnathan Ball.
Tim, 13, and three-year-old Johnathan lost their lives when bombs planted in litter bins in the Warrington's main shopping area exploded.
No warning was given and no one has been prosecuted for the outrage on March 20 1993, that left 56 people injured.
Mr Parry and his wife Wendy became committed peace campaigners after the death of their son, setting up and operating a charitable reconciliation centre in Warrington - The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace.
Reacting to Mr McGuinness's death, Mr Parry said: "Forgiveness never comes into it. I don't forgive Martin. I don't forgive the IRA - nor does my wife, nor do my children.
"But setting aside forgiveness, the simple fact is I found Martin McGuinness to be an easy and pleasant man to talk to - a man who I believe was sincere in his desire for peace and maintaining the peace process at all costs.
"I don't think anything in his most recent life can atone - that said he was still a brave man who put himself in some risk in some elements of his own community in Northern Ireland."
A number of IRA victims protested in Warrington when Mr McGuinness visited.
In his speech at the event, the former IRA commander spoke of his own journey to peace and his hopes for the future.
"I was once in the IRA. I am now a peace builder," he said.
"It has been a journey which has involved much hurt and pain.
"I have followed many coffins and stood beside many grieving families in the years since.
"But there can be no greater tragedy in life than parents having to bury their child.''
He added: "Regrettably the past cannot be changed or undone. Neither can the suffering, the hurt or the violence of the conflict be disowned by Republicans or any other party to the conflict.'
Belfast Telegraph Digital