Young IRA victim’s father speaks of ‘enormity’ of Manchester grief

Colin Parry, father of Tim Parry, speaking during a ceremony to mark the 20 year anniversary of the Warrington Bomb
Colin Parry, father of Tim Parry, speaking during a ceremony to mark the 20 year anniversary of the Warrington Bomb

The father of a young boy killed by an IRA bomb near Manchester has spoken of the “enormous” grief being experienced following Monday night’s bomb attack in the city.

Recalling his own painful memories of the 1993 attack in Warrington, Tim Parry said the families of those bereaved at the Manchester Arena – where 22 people died – will be struggling to do more than eat and sleep.

Tim Parry, 12, and Johnathan Ball aged three were killed when the IRA detonated two bombs in a busy shopping area.

Following a vigil in solidarity with those affected by the Manchester attack, Mr Parry said: “There is a terrible feeling of loneliness and isolation after an event like this, even when the deaths have been numerous.

“I don’t know anything that could be said right now that would make a jot of difference because they’ll be so devastated that I think they’d probably be deaf to most things.”

Mr Parry and his wife Wendy set up The Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace in 1995 to help other victims.

“I found in those early days and weeks we simply operated on a very basic level. We slept and we ate. Because the grief is so enormous, I don’t think any function above the most basic is within your capabilities,” he told BBC Newsnight.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, Mr Parry said it is “still unthinkable” that his son didn’t come home the day of the Warrington bomb.

“To kill a child ... is, quite simply, the most barbaric and callous act imaginable. There are children in hospital now, fighting for their lives ... their parents at their bedsides, hoping and praying they will survive.”