‘Courage’ of Rev Robert Bradford’s widow Norah praised at book launch

Former DUP leader Peter Robinson praised the “courage” of Norah Bradford as she launched a book about the 1981 IRA murder of her husband Robert on Friday.

Friday, 3rd December 2021, 7:24 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd December 2021, 9:28 pm

Speaking at the launch of ‘When Time is Taken’ in Lisburn, Mr Robinson recalled how Mrs Bradford faced down a large group of Noraid supporters when she took her husband’s place on a unionist leaders’ trip to the US, just a short time after he was shot dead in Belfast.

The UUP MP for South Belfast at the time, Rev Bradford was holding a constituency surgery at Finaghy Community Centre when he was shot several times by IRA gunmen on November 14.

In the book, Mrs Bradford recalls how her late husband was “always asking deep questions that others were afraid to, searching for hidden evils”.

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Lord Trimble (left), Norah Bradford and Peter Robinson at the launch of 'When Time is Taken'. Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

Among the topics discussed are claims of “government collusion, Garda and IRA involvement with murders” and the Kincora Boys’ Home sex abuse scandal.

In chapter 10, Mrs Bradford writes: “Behind the scenes he was uncovering businesses and USA bodies that were laundering money to the Irish republican terrorists”.

She goes on to say: “Yet another thing that was coming to his attention, which was all so new at that time – sexual abuse with children. It disturbed him when rumours of this nature came to light in Kincora Boys’ Home. He felt there were sinister forces at work that were hidden from public view in many arenas.”

Mr Robinson said: “Norah, in this book, pens so vividly the impact that Robert’s murder had on her and those close. It indicates that when the IRA, UVF or whoever it may be, murders someone that the repercussions are far reaching.”

Mrs Norah Bradford, the wife of the late Rev Robert Bradford MP, with her new book 'When Time is Taken'. Picture: Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press.

He added: “Norah had the courage to carry out the duties that Robert was to have carried out on that trip and that was not an easy task.”

In her own address to the invited guests, including former UUP leader and first minister David Trimble, Mrs Bradford said she wanted to write the book, despite having to “face old hurts again,” but “took it as a chance to reopen those wounds and... to bring new healing in”.

The community centre caretaker Kenneth Campbell was also shot dead by the gunmen. No one has ever been convicted of the murders.

Speaking on the BBC Radio Talkback programme on Friday, Mrs Bradford said: “At the end of the day, I know people don’t get off with things. It’s known in the heavens and people don’t actually get off with murder. They think they do, but they will face a final court.”

She added: “I feel it’s what I need to say at this time... and hopefully this book will open up some channels for people who are still suffering.

“With the government drawing a line on [legacy] court cases there are a lot of people who haven’t had their day in court and they are hurting, and desperately in need of a way of dealing with it”.

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