Coleraine 1973 IRA bomb attack remembered at ‘dignified’ service

Councillors joined relatives and members of the public at the service in Coleraine town centre
Councillors joined relatives and members of the public at the service in Coleraine town centre

A “solemn, dignified” service has been held in Coleraine to remember the victims of a 1973 IRA bombing.

The 45-year anniversary of the attack, in which the Provisional IRA detonated two car bombs in the busy Railway Road area of the town, killing six Protestant pensioners and injuring 33 people including children, was marked by the service in Coleraine town centre.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said it was a “very solemn, very dignified” service.

He added: “Having spoken to a number of the relatives, they were very grateful that it has taken place.

“A wreath was laid on behalf of the victims and survivors. One of the ministers read a poem that had been written, which was a very powerful indictment of the attack.

“It is very important that the atrocity is remembered and not forgotten. That’s why events like today are so important.”

The ceremony was held after the Causeway Coast and Glens council passed a motion calling for some form of service to mark the occasion, and the erection of a permanent memorial to survivors of the attack.

The man who planted the bomb at Railway Road, Sean McGlinchey, served 18 years in prison for the atrocity. He is now a serving Sinn Fein councillor in the Causeway Coast and Glens.

His party colleague, Brenda Chivers, is the mayor of the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough. She attended the ceremony.

DUP councillor Trevor Clarke, who seconded the motion to hold the service, said her presence at the event had “nothing to do with reconciliation”.

He added: “The Coleraine bombing shattered lives and devastated a local community. It was an evil attack on innocent people.

“Some in the local community have expressed surprise at Sinn Fein’s attendance because of the party’s links with the perpetrators of the attack.”

The mayor, however, told the News Letter in advance of the service: “I said I would give due consideration to all invitations when I was elected mayor.

“I will be attending Sunday’s remembrance service for the victims of the Coleraine bomb.”