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Dolores O'Riordan tribute from IRA victim's dad over song inspired by Warrington bomb

Another head hangs lowly Child is slowly taken And the violence, caused such silence Who are we mistaken? ... with their tanks, and their bombs And their bombs, and their guns In your head, in your head they are crying

BY CLAIRE McNEILLY

THE father of a young IRA bomb victim has told of his sadness at being unable to thank Dolores O'Riordan for penning a song about his 12-year-old son's tragic death.

Colin Parry said he regretted that he hadn't realised the haunting lyrics of Zombie by The Cranberries was about the Warrington terror attack until after lead singer Dolores died suddenly on Monday.

Schoolboy Tim Parry was killed alongside three-year-old Johnathan Ball in 1993 when two IRA bombs went off in the Cheshire town.

The following year the Irish band recorded the single in memory of the youngsters.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Mr Parry said he would have loved to have spoken to the 46-year-old singer face-to-face to thank her for taking her powerful stance against violence.

"I didn't know the song even existed, never mind having heard the lyrics before, until Monday night," he admitted.

"We're not great music listeners, so my wife and I were staggered to learn that Dolores had written Zombie about Warrington. I immediately listened to the words and they were heartfelt.

"I appreciate that she took a stance against the violence, particularly when there would have been fear of reprisal. For that reason, she will always have a special place in our hearts.

"I only wish we'd known about the song years ago so we could have got in touch, when it would have been possible to meet the band and thank Dolores in person."

Zombie, the standout single from The Cranberries' second album, reached number one in several countries and peaked at 14 in the UK charts.

O'Riordan said of the song: "This is our cry against man's inhumanity to man; and man's inhumanity to child."

The video for Zombie - which features scenes from a Troubles-torn Northern Ireland - was banned by the BBC at the time of the song's release.

The music world was in a state of shock after Limerick native O'Riordon's lifeless body was found in a central London hotel.

The troubled singer's death is not being treated as suspicious, and Scotland Yard confirmed the case had now been passed to a coroner.

O'Riordan was renowned for her distinctive voice and The Cranberries enjoyed huge worldwide success in the Nineties.

Her bandmates - Noel Hogan, Fergal Lawler and Mike Hogan - said they were "devastated" by her death, adding "the world has lost a true artist".

Tributes have also poured in from the world of music for the mother-of-three, while a number of fans braved the adverse weather conditions to sign a book of condolence opened at Limerick City and County Council.

TV and Radio Ulster presenter Ralph McLean (right), who interviewed Dolores in the 1990s, said her decision to speak out against the Troubles via Zombie set her apart from other artists.

"She was a very powerful frontwoman and she wasn't afraid to say what she felt - and that was to her credit," he said. "Zombie is a good example of that.

"She was writing songs that other rock acts wouldn't have touched upon. Most artists weren't writing about the Troubles and if they did, it was usually mealy-mouthed, wishy-washy attitudes. I love it if an artist is personally driven enough to actually say something outside the norm.

"A good artist speaks from the heart. Fair play to her.

"She wanted to comment on it and she did, and that was quite brave in the 1990s."

Mr McLean said he didn't see The Cranberries when they performed in Belfast at the Waterfront last May, but he said the band had "a very strong, very loyal following here".

"You only have to look at the outpouring of grief here locally on social media to see how shocked people are," he added.

"The Cranberries had a deeper impact here than perhaps previously thought.

"People loved their songs dearly; they had a very loyal audience in Northern Ireland.

"There's a generation now who look back at their early tracks as representing their formative years.

"The number of people who've come out as fans over the last few days has been amazing."

Recalling an interview with her around the time of the early singles Dreams and Linger, he said her death was "a terrible tragedy" because "someone so young who still had something to say didn't get to say it".

"With all due respect to the other members of the band, it's Dolores' voice and her attitude and her persona that made them stand out," he said.

"She was a distinctive and very driven voice. She said what she felt and she didn't toe the PR party line that a lot of rock bands do.

"There weren't that many strong women in the 1990s; Sinead O'Connor ploughed the furrow but Dolores O'Riordan was right there as well.

"She was an important figure in Irish rock."

Meanwhile, tributes have continued to pour in.

Annie Lennox described O'Riordan as a "unique artist, singer-songwriter, musician and performer".

The Eurythmics star said: "Truly saddened and shocked to hear of the sudden passing of Dolores O'Riordan.

"A unique artist, singer songwriter, musician and performer..."

REM's Michael Stipe wrote on Twitter: "We are all saddened to hear the news.

"Dolores was a brilliant and generous spirit with a quick humor and a stunning voice."

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