McCrum has ‘lost confidence’

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A Banbridge councillor whose brother was killed when a no warning IRA bomb struck the town in 1982, believes that his killer will never be found.

Junior McCrum was speaking this week as Lady Justice Hallett’s On the Run letters review, ordered by PM David Cameron, found ‘significant systemic failures’ in how it operated.

The scheme was made public when the trial collapsed of a man suspected of the 1982 IRA Hyde Park bombing.

John Downey was wrongly told he was not wanted by any UK police force. However, he was still being sought by the Met.

Cllr. McCrum’s brother Alan was only 11 when he died in a no warning bomb attack on the town where 34 people were also injured.

Alan had been waiting for a friend at a jewellers shop when the bomb exploded and he was killed when struck by a piece of shrapnel.

In April 1995 a self confessed former IRA member and supergrass Eamonn Collins, who later wrote a book ‘Killing of Age’ about the IRA, said in a television interview that he had ‘scouted in’ the car bomb.

In 1999 he was beaten and stabbed while walking his dogs near Newry. One reason for the killing was that it is thought to have been revenge for his writings against the IRA.

Mr McCrum said that the On the Run letters showed that British Government were doing deals behind closed doors and said that if a query into the 1982 boming ever took place he would had no confidence in it.

“I would have no confidence in the Historical Enquiry,” he said. “Even if a person was found that caused the death of my brother he would be extradited and released on licence.

“I think the whole thing is a downright disgrace. It just goes to show that the British Government not only went behind the backs of the victims of the Troubles but the whole of Northern Ierland to conduct a deal with Sinn Feinn to get a peace process up and running.

“What else has Tony Blair promised that has not come to light yet?

“No-one knew about these On the Run letters. What else will come out that Tony Blair and Peter Hain the then Secretary of State promised that has not materialised.

“I have no doubt that other things will come to light. They can deny it all they want but it will come out. It is such a serious matter. What other deals have been done that they did not want people to know which might have risked the peace process?

“When asked if there was anything else that the government are hiding - an MP sidestepped the issue.

“What other information will come out time will tell. I would have no confidence if there were any investigation carried out, none at all.”

The Banbridge Bomb exploded at 5.30pm on March 15 in Bridge Street which was then crowded with shoppers and people going home from work.

One witness at the time said, “I ran through the smoke and saw one lady lying with a shopping bag in her hand. I saw a butcher running out of his shop with blood streaming down his face.”