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Saturday, March 20, 1999 Published at 18:10 GMT


Mowlam marks Warrington bombing

Floral tributes poured in from people shocked by the bombing

The decommissioning of terrorist weapons as part of a full implementation the Good Friday Agreement is the way to restore confidence in the Northern Ireland peace process, according to Mo Mowlam.

The Search for Peace
The Northern Ireland Secretary was speaking in Warrington to mark the sixth anniversary of an IRA bomb which killed two children.

Her comments came as the province's First Minister David Trimble spelled out a "no alternative" message to his party's conference, calling for the arms handover to begin as soon as possible.

Dr Mowlam said: "I agree with David Trimble. I don't think there is an alternative to the Good Friday Agreement.

"With the splinter group violence we are beginning to see, if we can implement the Good Friday Agreement in full, and that means decommissioning and forming the executive, I think we can get the confidence back in the process and move forward."

[ image: Johnathan Ball: Shooping for a Mother's Day card when he died]
Johnathan Ball: Shooping for a Mother's Day card when he died
The anniversary of the 1993 Warrington bombing came at the end of a week which saw fresh turmoil in Northern Ireland with the murders of human rights lawyer Rosemary Nelson and loyalist Frankie Curry.

Dr Mowlam was in the Cheshire town on Saturday for the inauguration of a £2.5m peace centre in the memory of Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball.

Johnathan, three, was in town with his babysitter to buy a Mother's Day Card when the explosion happened.

[ image: Tim Parry: The football fan died five days after the blast]
Tim Parry: The football fan died five days after the blast
And avid Everton fan Tim, 12, was shopping for football shorts when he caught the full force of the blast. He died five days later in Liverpool's Walton hospital.

The Northern Ireland Secretary said she remained confident progress could be made, despite the difficulties likely to be faced over the next three weeks as peace talks are scheduled to restart.

"This time last year we had nothing," she said. "We had a lot of progress to make.

"We have a difficult three weeks ahead of us but I know the leaders of the parties are determined to make all the progress they can.

"I have every confidence we will move another step forward on the difficult issues of decommissioning and the formation of the executive, because nobody wants to turn round and go back down the road of violence."

[ image: Colin Parry: Quit his job to fundraise full-time]
Colin Parry: Quit his job to fundraise full-time
The minister took the controls of a mechanical digger to turn the first soil for the peace centre.

The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Young Peoples' Centre, due to open next year, will include residential accommodation for visiting groups from Ireland and around the world, an IT suite, cafe areas and sports facilities.

The building will also house the NSPCC's regional headquarters with a helpline and drop-in centre.

Dr Mowlam and Tim's father Colin also launched a Children for Peace campaign to be based in the centre, with its own fund-raising and education programmes.

Mr Parry said: "We believe that developing an interest in peace among young people is vital for the future.

"Every time we visit Ireland we are struck by the quality and passion of the debate among young people and we know they can make a difference."

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