A five-month-old baby, who was killed by a bomb in Co Tyrone 50 years ago, was the victim of a “heinous crime” which denied him the right to “feel the love and warmth of a family”, a service of remembrance has been told.
Alan Jack was with his mother Barbara and two-year-old brother Robert in Canal Street, Strabane, on July 19, 1972 when a IRA bomb in a car went off.
His pram was hit by a shard of glass which fell from a building after the explosion, killing the baby.
No one has been brought to justice for Alan’s murder and his family never received acknowledgement for what happened. Alan’s parents William and Barbara have since died.
A service of remembrance and thanksgiving was held for Alan yesterday at Leckpatrick Parish Church.
Kenny Donaldson, director of services for the South East Fermanagh Foundation victims group, said it was often said that victims of terrorist atrocities were “in the wrong place at the wrong time” but this wasn’t the case.
He said Alan and his mum had been “in the right place at the right time”, going about their business. He also said that Alan had not “lost his life” but instead, it had been “stolen” from him, denying him the chance to take his first steps, go to school, meet, marry and have a family of his own and feel the love of those who cared for him.
“It was the terrorists who were always in the wrong place at the wrong time, they never had a right to be in those places; to pull triggers, to detonate bombs, to threaten and intimidate and deploy their fascist methods,” said Mr Donaldson.
“Baby Alan did not lose his life. He and all the others murdered through terrorism had their lives stolen from them and no one had the right to do so, just as they have no right to airbrush away their heinous crimes, nor to be facilitated by naive fools in doing so.
“Baby Alan was denied the right to feel the love and warmth of a family for a prolonged period. He was denied the right to take his first step, to walk and to run.
“He was denied the right to play with siblings and yes to fall out with them. He was denied the right to attend school, to play and compete in sports or other disciplines. He was denied the right to meet someone, or to go on to be married. He was denied the right to be a father and grandfather.”
Baby Alan was one of the youngest victims of the Troubles, and his death came during the worst year of violence, with 472 people killed in 1972.