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Sunday, 16 December, 2001, 18:52 GMT
Sinn Fein chief says bomb was 'wrong'
Martin McGuinness and Colin Parry at the peace centre
Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness has said that the killing of two children in an IRA bomb in Warrington in 1993 was wrong and that it should not have happened.

Mr McGuinness was speaking after a meeting with the parents of the two victims Tim Parry and Johnathan Ball.

He said he was sorry that Irish republicans were responsible for the deaths.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster on Sunday, Colin Parry, the father of one of the victims, said he took it to be a clear and unequivocal apology.

I came away from the meeting far more convinced that his commitment to making the process work is very strong

Colin Parry

Colin Parry said: "The whole tenor and mood and content of the meeting was positive and reassuring.

"Judging Martin McGuinness entirely as he was last night, and not as I have seen him on the television screens down the years, the man gave a very good impression.

"I came away from the meeting far more convinced than I would have otherwise been that his commitment to making the process work is very very strong."

Tim, an avid Everton fan, had been shopping for football shorts when he caught the full force of the explosion. He died five days later in Liverpool's Walton Hospital.

Three-year-old Johnathan had been in the town with his babysitter to buy a Mother's Day card when he was killed in the blast.

colin parry and the duchess
Colin Parry has campaigned tirelessly since his son died

The tragedy also left 56 people injured.

Mr McGuinness, who is Northern Ireland's Education Minister, met relatives at the Young People's Centre in Warrington on Saturday.

The 3m centre opened last year - on the seventh anniversary of the bomb blast.

Hundreds of people gathered in the town centre to mark the event and remember the two young boys who died.

The Duchess of Kent was guest of honour at the ceremony.

The area took the full brunt of the two explosions which devastated the town.

Johnathan Ball
Johnathan Ball: Bomb victim

Colin and Wendy Parry have campaigned tirelessly to build a peace centre.

They helped set up a peace initiative within months of the explosion.

They said the Tim Parry-Johnathan Ball Young People's Centre was the realisation of their dreams and would be a haven for children.

It is run by the NSPCC and the Tim Parry-Johnathan Ball Trust.

The centre includes residential accommodation for visiting groups from Ireland and around the world, an IT suite, cafe areas and sports facilities.

BBC NI's Julia Paul reports:
"Mr McGuinness said that reconciliation must continue"
Colin Parry tells BBC Radio Ulster:
"The whole tenor and mood and content of the meeting was positive and reassuring"
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