The IRA bombed the heart of Coleraine town 25 years ago

The aftermath of the large van bomb detonated in the centre of Coleraine by the IRA on Novembe 13 1992
The aftermath of the large van bomb detonated in the centre of Coleraine by the IRA on Novembe 13 1992

Twenty-five years ago this week the centre of Coleraine was ravaged in a massive IRA bomb attack.

The late-evening blast on 13th November 1992 razed buildings to the ground (aftermath pictured above).

Trevor Clarke, a DUP councillor in Coleraine

Trevor Clarke, a DUP councillor in Coleraine

Poppy wreaths, laid at the Cenotaph five days previously, were scattered amidst the rubble.

Thankfully, miraculously, no-one was killed or injured.

The people of Coleraine rallied together and within days many traders were back in business.

Eventually the shops were rebuilt and life carried on.

It was a very different set of outcomes to the IRA’s previous attack on the town, when six people perished and many more were injured in a car-bombing on the Railway Road in June 1973.

In Northern Ireland terms, the Coleraine attacks were far from unusual.

Commercial centres represented low-risk opportunities for republican bombers.

Understandably the authorities introduced measures to thwart the terrorists. For the general public this meant a visit to the shops involved security searches at shop entrances.

Control Zones excluded vehicles from town centres.

Police checkpoints were commonplace.

Despite it all a quiet defiance and determination to cling to normality helped bring us through the darkest of times.

The ‘business as usual’ approach ultimately prevailed despite the efforts of the bombers.

Some people would rather forget all that went on here during the period known as ‘the Troubles’.

Others would prefer to airbrush particular facts or events from history.

And whilst there’s sense in not dwelling in the past, it would be wrong to lose sight of the lessons of history, and dangerous to allow history to be revised and presented in such a way as suits the agenda of republican propagandists.

• Trevor Clarke is a DUP councillor in Coleraine