Manchester jihadi and IRA victims to unite

Victims of jihadi and IRA terrorism in Manchester are invited to a special service to mark 25 years since a major IRA attack on the city this weekend.

Wednesday, 29th November 2017, 2:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:05 am
PC Vanessa Winstanley and another woman help an elderly injured woman after the IRA bomb in Manchester city centre in 1996. Pic: Press Association.
PC Vanessa Winstanley and another woman help an elderly injured woman after the IRA bomb in Manchester city centre in 1996. Pic: Press Association.

Entitled ‘A city united in its rejection of terrorism,’ a church service will take place in Manchester city centre this Sunday to mark 25 years since the 1992 IRA bomb attack which injured 65 people.

However victims of the Islamic fundamentalist attack in the city on 22 May this year, which killed 22 and injured 512, have also been invited. The venue is St Ann’s Parish Church, only 400 yards away from the scene of the May bombing. Countless people left flowers on the square outside afterwards to express their sympathies.

Members of the emergency services involved in both incidents have also been invited.

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Canon Nigel Ashworth, who will lead Sunday’s service, said he was “thrilled” to learn of the work that organisers the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) is doing among terror victims across Great Britain.

Survivors and those bereaved by terrorism from Northern Ireland, England Scotland and Wales are planning to attend.

“There have been three major bomb attacks in Manchester,” Canon Ashworth said. “Everyone remembers the horrific Islamic fundamentalist bombing in May that claimed 22 lives.

“And the IRA bomb in June 1996 caused the most enormous damage, injuring around 200 people.

“But the 1992 bomb has almost been forgotten. It was preceded by a hoax bomb call to Arndale shopping centre in the city centre, which seems to have quite deliberately funnelled crowds of people towards to the two genuine bombs.”

One was 200 yards from the church and the other 500 yards away.

He notes that victims of the Manchester Arena bomb attack in May have also been invited. “It is such a raw experience you don’t know if people are able to respond yet,” he added.

“We hope to bring people together in a way that is healing and loving and affirms the good things of life. Being forgotten does not help people to heal.”

Kenny Donaldson of SEFF said the event will also mark the official launch of the group’s Great Britain Victim Support Service, which offers a criminal justice advocacy service and is in the process of appointing a health and wellbeing worker.