Bomb survivor slams Sinn Fein councillor over ‘pride’ remarks

The scene of the fatal IRA car bomb explosion on Railway Street, Coleraine in 1973

The scene of the fatal IRA car bomb explosion on Railway Street, Coleraine in 1973

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A survivor of an IRA bomb blast has slammed a Sinn Fein councillor for expressing his “pride” in his IRA past – in the town where a device he planted killed six pensioners in 1973.

David Gilmour described the remarks by Sean McGlinchey at a council meeting in Coleraine on Tuesday evening as a “sectarian, hate filled outburst”.

Mr Gilmour was only 10 years old when the bomb exploded as he was sitting in a car on Coleraine’s Railway Road.

During a heated exchange in the chamber of the Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council, Cllr McGlinchey said: “I’m an ex-IRA man. I’m proud of it”.

Speaking to the press afterwards Cllr McGlinchey, who was convicted of involvement in the murders and sentenced to 18 years in prison, said he accepted that it was “very insensitive” to have made the comments in Coleraine.

However, he also told the Derry Journal that he stands over his remark.

He said: “I apologise for saying the comments in the chamber. I realise that was wrong and I want to apologise to the people of Coleraine and to the victims of the bomb. I regret saying what I said in the chamber in Coleraine. That was very insensitive,”

Mr Gilmour dismissed the councillor’s explanation as falling well short of an actual apology and called on him to resign.

“The so-called apology issued only said he was sorry about saying what he did in the council chamber but did not say he was sorry for the callous and cowardly act of murder he perpetrated in 1973. I believe he has exposed himself as an unfit person to hold elected office,” he said.

Mr Gilmour said the damage caused to good relations within the council was not yet known, “but the distress, hurt and offence he has caused to the good people of Coleraine,” especially to survivors and victims’ families, “will not be forgotten for a long time”.