Air India bombing victims to be remembered in west Cork

Memorial service will mark 30th anniversary of terrorist attack that killed 329 people

Terrorism can never deliver on the political goals of its perpetrators, Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan will tell mourners at a ceremony in west Cork today to mark the 30th anniversary of the Air India bombing off the southwest coast.

Mr Flanagan will be joined at the ceremony for the 329 victims by the Canadian minister for justice, Peter MacKay, and the Indian minister for external affairs, VK Singh.

Both the Canadian and Indian ambassadors to Ireland, Kevin Vickers and Radhika Lal Lokesh and the Mayor of Cork County, Cllr Alan Coleman, will attend the ceremony which begins at 8am at Ahakista on the Sheep's Head peninsula in west Cork. A memorial to the dead has been erected at Ahakista.

A minute's silence will be held at 8.12am to mark the exact time a bomb exploded on board Air India Flight 182 killing all passengers and crew on board the Boeing 747, which was en route from Toronto to India via Montreal and London.


Mr Flanagan will tell mourners there can never be any justification for terrorist acts such as the bombing of the Air India flight, which was carried out by Sikh extremists in retaliation for a crackdown on Sikh militants in India.

Annual remembrance

The tragedy is remembered annually at the memorial at Ahakista, one of the nearest land points to where the bombing took place, 100 miles off the southwest coast of Ireland, when the aircraft was 50 minutes out from Heathrow.

Relatives of those killed will participate in the memorial service and Padmini Turlapati, who lost her two sons, Sanjay and Deepak, will speak on behalf of the victims' families.


Canadian poet

Renee Sarojini Saklikar

, who lost her aunt and uncle in the atrocity, spoke of the great bonds that had developed between the families and local people in west Cork.

“My family will never forget the compassionate care given to us by the people of Cork in the days just after the bombing,” said Saklikar, who gave an address entitled History, Grief, Remembrance at a poetry reading at the West Cork Arts Centre, Uillin in Skibbereen.

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times