Bomb anniversary in newsletter recalls ‘IRA barbarism’
The TUV chief was commenting after the News Letter commemorated the 50th anniversary of the atrocity – which claimed the lives of seven people – with a special supplement on Monday.
Two police officers and three municipal trash collectors were among those killed when the car bomb exploded just before noon on March 20, 1972.
More than 130 people were injured, some maimed for life.
The attack was the IRA’s first major use of a concealed vehicle bomb and proved to be a tipping point in the government’s fight against terrorism.
Within days of the atrocity, the government had introduced a ban on leaving cars unattended in town and city centers, had begun planning to put up a ‘steel ring’ security fence around Belfast and had also paved the way for the introduction of a confidential hotline to report terrorist activity.
By the end of this week, the Westminster government had announced the closure of Stormont and the imposition of “direct rule”.
Jim Allister said: ‘The carnage which the IRA visited on Donegall Street on March 20, 1972 is a particularly stark example of their barbarism.
“The seven innocent victims of the bombings deserve to be remembered and the bravery of RUC officers like Constable Ernest McAllister who was murdered while seeking to evacuate the area.
“The fact that three binmen and a 79-year-old pensioner were among the victims also speaks to the indiscriminate nature of the IRA’s terror and the innocence of the victims.”
Mr Allister added: ‘The News Letter is to be commended for commemorating the anniversary in the fitting way it has and we can all be happy that this attack on the free press has failed, as shown by publication of yesterday’s newspaper”.
On Twitter, NI Secretary Brandon Lewis said his thoughts were with those bereaved by the IRA bombings in Warrington on the same date in 1993, and added: “the senseless and devastating attack in Belfast”.
DUP adviser Dale Pankhurst tweeted: “The IRA bomb warnings deliberately pushed civilians, including children, towards the car bomb. A heinous atrocity that exposed IRA terrorism. We will never forget.”
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