A woman whose aunt was killed and father badly injured in an IRA bomb in Coleraine in 1973 has told of her family’s forgiveness of newly-appointed Limavady mayor, Sean McGlinchey, who was convicted for his involvement in the atrocity.
Mr. McGlinchey served 18 years in Long Kesh for his part in the car bombing, which killed six people.
After his release he said he regretted what happened and had he known that innocent people would die that day he would never have done it.
He reiterated those comments this week after the DUP’s Gregory Campbell criticised his appointment as mayor in Limavady, calling on him to apologise.
“What happened is my responsibility, those were my actions. If I had known innocent people would be killed I would never have done it. I regret the deaths and I have apologised,” he said.
Among the dead of the Railway Road bomb was Nan Davis, while her brother-in-law Bobby Davis was badly injured.
Following last week’s barrage of media coverage about Mr. McGlinchey, Bobby Davis’ daughter, Jean Jefferson - the sister of the late Coleraine mayor, councillor Liz Johnston - telephoned him on Wednesday.
“When I read the story in the paper my mind went back to when my sister Liz Johnston was on the radio with Sean McGlinchey for the 25th anniversary,” explained Mrs. Jefferson.
“My father had forgiven him immediately and he never held any hatred. If he could forgive there was no way we couldn’t. My sister has passed away since, but when I read the story I could hear her saying, ‘you can’t leave it like that. It’s unfair’.
“Sean McGlinchey was elected in a democratic fashion and that is what democracy is all about. I wished him all the best in his year as mayor. It was the right thing for me to do. It’s been forgiven and forgotten years ago.”
Mr McGlinchey said he was extremely touched and taken aback by the phone call from Mrs. Jefferson, who he described as a lady.
“I deeply regret the deaths in Coleraine,” he said. “I can’t turn the clock back, but I am more determined than ever to make a difference and show that there is a way forward without violence.”