Martin McGuinness invited to speak at Warrington peace centre

Martin McGuinness
Image caption Martin McGuinness has previously said that the IRA had been wrong to attack Warrington

The father of a boy killed in the IRA bomb attack in Warrington has asked a former leader of the group to lecture at a centre set up in his son's memory.

Colin Parry said he had asked Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness to speak at the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Centre during a visit to Belfast.

Johnathan Ball, three, and Tim Parry, 12, died in the attack in March 1993.

The Northern Ireland deputy first minister, who was a senior IRA figure, has agreed to the visit in principle.

The two boys died and 54 others were injured when two bombs hidden in litter bins went off in Bridge Street.

Mr Parry made the request to Mr McGuinness after travelling to Belfast for a BBC Radio Five Live documentary.

He said he had invited the politician to speak because "part of our ethos is that we talk to everyone".

"We don't just talk to victims of terrorism or young people who are at risk of being radicalised. We also talk to people who have been associated with terrorist acts," he said.

"In simple terms, you make peace with your enemies, not with your friends.

Image caption Johnathan Ball, three, and Tim Parry, 12, died after the IRA bombing

He added that while Mr McGuinness was "now a mainstream politician, Martin's history is one of being involved with the IRA".

"His past would have placed him beyond the pale for many people, but not for me and my foundation," he said.

Mr McGuinness has previously met with Mr Parry and visited the centre and the town for private meetings.

During a visit in 2001 he said he was sorry that Irish republicans were responsible for the boys' deaths and that the bombing had been wrong.

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