Reg Empey: It is right and proper that the victims of Bloody Friday terror are commemorated

A letter from Lord Empey:

By Letters
Saturday, 19th February 2022, 1:47 am
Updated Saturday, 19th February 2022, 11:48 am
The smoke still rising from Oxford Street Bus station, above, where six people died on Bloody Sunday in July 1972
The smoke still rising from Oxford Street Bus station, above, where six people died on Bloody Sunday in July 1972

In July 1972, I worked in Royal Avenue, Belfast. Bomb scares were a regular occurrence as were IRA attacks and assassinations.

Friday July 21 1972 differed from the usual disruption because of the sheer volume of scares that were unleashed. As people were evacuated from their work places unto the streets, they were told to go in a certain direction, to find that those evacuated from another property were told to go in a different direction.

The intended result was that people were being led towards bombs instead of away. It was sheer terror. I recall driving home that night with my mother and seeing the smoke still rising from Oxford Street Bus station where six people died. Around 130 people were injured, many of them seriously, most of them women and children.

Letter to the editor

It is right and proper that this bloodshed is commemorated and the victims given the respect they deserve and to describe attempts to have such a commemoration as ‘a sham fight’ by Alliance Councillor Michael Long is deeply insulting (‘Alliance councillor’s apology over Bloody Friday tweet’, Feb 18, see link below).

It is widely believed that this attack was directed by a leading Sinn Fein figure, who always claims never to have been in the IRA.

Whoever it was, he’ll have to meet his maker some day and account for his actions.

Reg Empey, House of Lords, Westminster

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