The death of former IRA leader Martin McGuiness came just hours after the 24th anniversary of the Warrington bombing which killed two children.

Colin Parry, whose 12-year-old son died in the attack, said it was “one more irony in our shared history.”

On 20 March 1993, two bombs exploded on a busy Warrington street, killing two-year-old Johnathan Ball, gravely wounding 12-year-old Tim Parry, and injuring 54 other shoppers.

Tim died in hospital five days later when his life support was turned off.

Mr Parry asked Martin why the IRA bombed Warrington, with McGuinness claiming that he did not know, but “deeply apologetic”.

Mr Parry said: “His apologies didn’t matter, but the very fact he suggested he didn’t know about the bomb was interesting to me.”

McGuinness later played a pivotal role in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, which brought an end to ‘The Troubles” in Northern Ireland.

Mr Parry and his wife, Wendy, would go on to found the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace so their son’s name would not be forgotten.

Martin McGuinness and Colin Parry met several times, with Mr Parry saying he “got on well with him”.

In 2013, McGuinness accepted an invitation from Colin and Wendy to speak at a peace lecture in Warrington, 20-years after the bomb, saying he “thought it was important to go, to acknowledge the hurt and pain”.

Despite working together, Mr Parry said he has not “forgiven Martin McGuinness or the IRA”, and he never will.

He said: “I am not full of anger. I won’t ever get justice, I’ve closed off the past the best I can so we can concentrate on the future.”

Martin MCGuinness, who was the Deputy First Minister of North Ireland until January, died yesterday after suffering from a rare heart condition.

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Foundation works nationally to support those affected by terrorism and conflict. 

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