Brighton: Symposium To Remember 1984 Bombing

24 September 2014, 13:04

The 30th anniversary of the Brighton bombing will be marked by peace campaigners, political activists and academic scholars.

The Provisional IRA's attack on October 12 1984, killed five and injured 30 at The Grand hotel on Brighton seafront, where prime minister Margaret Thatcher and members of her government were staying for the Conservative Party's annual conference.

The University of Brighton will hold a two-part symposium to discuss the history, memory and legacy of the Irish Troubles in Britain.

Graham Dawson, professor of historical cultural studies, said: "The bombing was one of the most significant among nearly 500 incidents in the Provisional IRA's campaign of political violence in England over 25 years from 1973 to 1997.

"It generated impassioned as well as critical reflection and debate, nationally across Britain and locally in Brighton and Hove, about how and why the armed conflict in and over Northern Ireland had come to this town in England, the political and ethical meanings of the attack, and its human consequences for those harmed by it.

"We will revisit these questions and re-evaluate the significance of the event today, in the light of the Irish peace process that has brought the PIRA's armed struggle to a close.''

The centrepiece is the reading of a new play by dramatists Julie Everton, a University of Brighton humanities lecturer, and Josie Melia, which explores the causes and consequences of the event.

It will highlight the personal journeys towards empathy of Pat Magee, the IRA volunteer who planted the bomb, and Jo Berry, whose father Sir Anthony Berry died in the attack, within the ongoing wider peace process, a university spokesman said.

Ms Berry, founder of Building Bridges for Peace, will be among the speakers at the event which takes place on October 15 and 16.