Harrods bomb remembered

The scene outside Harrods in London after the 1983 IRA bomb. Photo: PA Wire
The scene outside Harrods in London after the 1983 IRA bomb. Photo: PA Wire

Relatives of the six people killed when the IRA bombed the Harrods store in London will join survivors of the attack for a 35th anniversary memorial service on Monday.

On December 17, 1983 the Provos detonated a massive car bomb outside the famous department store killing three police officers and three civilians.

Almost 100 people were injured by the device which was assembled using Semtex explosives provided by Colonel Gaddafi’s Libyan regime.

Among those attending the service at the scene of the blast will be Susanne Dodd, whose police inspector father Stephen was killed while clearing the area of shoppers.

Writing in the News Letter as part of our Legacy Scandal series of essays, Ms Dodd said: “Dad subsequently died on Christmas Eve. I was seven years old and I can still remember it being Christmas and praying to Father Christmas to bring my dad home. I have never recovered from the loss of my poor dad”.

Ms Dodd also hit out at the government’s failure to ensure Libya paid compensation to IRA victims.

“It is undoubtedly an appalling lack of equality as US victims of IRA Semtex received substantial compensation from Colonel Gaddafi for the supply of the terror weapons whilst UK and Irish victims receive nothing,” she added.

Speaking two days after the blast, Home Secretary Leon Brittan said the Samaritans had received a telephone message “that the IRA had placed a car bomb outside Harrods and that there were two bombs inside Harrods”.

He said the call was made using “a code word previously unknown to the police,” and added: “The police had already received 22 other similar messages earlier that day ... which turned out to be false alarms.”

Senior police officers, parliamentarians and victims of other terrorist attacks will also be attending Monday’s service.

Jonathan Ganesh was severely injured when the IRA bombed Canary Wharf in 1996.

He said he will be honoured to attend the event, and added: “It’s immensely important that we never forget the victims of terrorism. I understand the pain that these people live with every day”.