Council to mark Railway Road bomb anniversary

The scene in the aftermath of the Provisional IRA bomb that exploded in Railway Road, Coleraine on June 12, 1973. The explosion killed six civilians.
The scene in the aftermath of the Provisional IRA bomb that exploded in Railway Road, Coleraine on June 12, 1973. The explosion killed six civilians.

TWO Coleraine councillors recalled one of the darkest days in Coleraine’s history at Tuesday night’s Policy and Development meeting.

Members were debating how they should commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Railway Road bomb, which killed six people back on June 12, 1973.

The meeting was told that an approach has been made to Council from the Coleraine Churches Forum offering to mark the anniversary with a service of reflection at St Patrick’s on June 21, a day when the Forum participates in an annual ‘Day of Reflection’ for the conflict in Northern Ireland.

The Mayor, DUP councillor Sam Cole proposed that Council should accept the offer, but also mark the anniversary on the date of the incident with a wreath laying ceremony at the Cenotaph.

An amendment by the Deputy Mayor, Alderman Maura Hickey called on members to support the service offered by the Churches Forum, but not the wreath laying.

Many members spoke of their disappointment about having to vote on the issue.

UUP councillor David Harding told the meeting: “It is inappropriate to vote.

“I would wish to be at both events. I think we should accept both proposals.

UUP councillor William McCandless agreed.

He recalled the day of the bomb as a youngster, and told about his panic as he searched for his younger brother and his mother just after the bomb exploded. “ I was in a state of utter panic for about an hour as I went through the police cordon to look for my brother and my mother,” he said.

Alderman Maura Hickey then rescinded her amendment saying: “ I just felt that the wreath laying was slightly political and I felt that the Churches Forum was the right way to go. I wouldn’t like it to go to a vote, so I will rescind my amendment.

DUP Alderman Maurice Bradley said he was disappointed that members were event debating the issue.

“If I had turned right instead of left on that particular day I might not be here today.

“I don’t want to be reminded of what happened on that day.

“I am disappointed that there is a debate, it was a bad day for me, and it is sad that we are debating something that is straight forward.”

Members then agreed to accept the offer from the Churches Forum, but also to commemorate the anniversary with a wreath laying ceremony.