Madrid couple share vision of hope at Stormont victims event

A Spanish couple whose son was murdered in the Madrid train bombings addressed some 200 people in Stormont last night at an event set up in memory of the victims.

By Philip Bradfield
Saturday, 7th March 2020, 7:00 am
Updated Saturday, 7th March 2020, 7:56 am
The Assembly Commission refused to light up Parliament Buildings for the event this year because they said it was being held on the wrong date. 
Photo David McCormick/Pacemaker Press
The Assembly Commission refused to light up Parliament Buildings for the event this year because they said it was being held on the wrong date. Photo David McCormick/Pacemaker Press

On March 11, 2004, a series of Islamist bombs on four commuter trains killed 191 and wounded 1,841 – the worst terror attack in Europe since the Lockerbie bombing in 1988.

The European Commission later designated March 11 as European Remembrance Day for Victims of Terrorism.

Last night Marisol Urbano and Juan Carlos Cabrero Rojo from Madrid told how their son Rodrigo was killed on his way to college. “We were looking for him for 24 hours and finally we found him at the morgue,” Marisol told the News Letter. “Both my parents and father-in-law died six months later, devastated.”

The couple and their surviving son still suffer from Post traumatic Stress Disorder and panic attacks.

“We want to say that people who suffer this kind of evil are family and all feel the same worries and feelings. We wish for them hope that we can make a better world if we work together...we try to share a life of love and hope in the middle of the pain.”

Glen Pollock told last night how his uncle Ronnie Pollock, an RUC officer, lost his legs in an IRA boobytrap bomb in Banbridge in 1981. A few weeks later Glen’s brother Samuel was killed, aged 20, in an IRA bomb attached to the car of his UDR friend, who survived.

“These people seem to be taken by the hand and now they want to rewrite history,” Glen said. “And where does that leave the innocent victims who are now being fobbed off regarding justice? Many people feel the killers are not being touched as a form of appeasement.”

Mary McCurrie told how her father James McCurrie, a civilian, was murdered in 1970 just off the Newtownards Road in east Belfast. It was a weekend of violence across Belfast which saw five Protestant civilian men shot dead by republicans and one Catholic, reportedly shot accidentally by the IRA.

“The IRA just opened up on innocent unarmed people,” she said. “My father was on his way home. He had been out with his mates through streets they had walked all their days.”

Organiser TUV leader Jim Allister said last night that current legacy proposals are “slanted against the state and innocent victims continue to be largely ignored”. Last year the Assembly Commission lit Parliament Buildings in red to mark the event. This year it refused, saying last night that the event was not on the official commemoration date.