Family’s anger as Sinn Fein appoints bomber’s daughter as MLA

Max Olorunda with his wife Gabrielle. Max was killed by an IRA incendiary bomb which detonated prematurely on a train
Max Olorunda with his wife Gabrielle. Max was killed by an IRA incendiary bomb which detonated prematurely on a train

A woman whose father was killed in an IRA bomb has spoken of her disgust after the daughter of the man responsible was appointed a Sinn Fein MLA.

Jayne Olorunda, aged 38, was only two years old when her Nigerian-born accountant father, Max Olorunda, was killed along with two other people in the Dunmurry train bombing in January 1980.

IRA man Patrick Joseph Flynn leapt from the train in flames and suffered severe burns.

The IRA released a lengthy apology at the time saying the detonation was accidental.

Mr Flynn’s daughter, Orlaithi Flynn, was recently selected as the new Sinn Fein MLA for West Belfast, replacing Jennifer McCann.

In the wake of the announcement, Ms Olorunda, an author and cross-community worker, spoke out about her family’s hurt.

In a statement she said: “I had to break the news to my mother and my sister. I knew they would be hurt. The daughter of the man who killed my dad would now be the MLA for West Belfast.

“Christmas has never been a good time for my family, it’s so close to my father’s anniversary but I was hoping, just hoping that this year we could make something of it.

“The fact that Sinn Fein decided to announce its decision when it did, was to me disgusting.

“As a party that contests to caring about victims, it’s clear that they care little, never have, never will. Frankly they were insensitive and that hurts.”

Ms Olorunda added that she was not angry at Ms Flynn and said she wished her well.

She went on: “I guess my anger stems from the fact that her father killed mine. I can’t help thinking this and to be fair in my shoes who wouldn’t?”

Kenny Donaldson, spokesman for Innocent Victims United stated: “This news will be extremely difficult for the families concerned to process and our thoughts and prayers are with them.

“Undoubtedly this is a strategic appointment by Sinn Fein who will see Miss Flynn as the ideal person to share a personal perspective of caring for/seeing at first hand a family relative deal with the injuries sustained by his own hand.”

A Sinn Fein spokesperson said Ms Flynn was “working to build a better future for everyone in our society”.

In a statement, the party added: “Sinn Fein is committed to addressing the legacy of the conflict and that includes ensuring the needs of all victims are met.

“We acknowledge the hurt and suffering which occurred as a result of the conflict.”