Dublin-Monaghan bomb victim families back U2 tribute

Justice for the Forgotten group says media reports on show an attempt to ‘stir things up’

The aftermath  of a bomb on Nassau Street, Dublin, in 1974. Photograph: Pat Langan/The Irish Times

The aftermath of a bomb on Nassau Street, Dublin, in 1974. Photograph: Pat Langan/The Irish Times

 

Families of those killed in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings 41 years ago are very happy with a tribute to the victims that forms part of U2’s stage show on the band’s current tour, a group representing them has said.

A former Belfast lord mayor recently called on the band to amend the performance ahead of their two shows in the city next week, claiming it was “one-sided” and could “cause a riot”.

Thirty-four people, including a pregnant woman, died and 300 others were injured when three co-ordinated UVF bombs exploded in Dublin during the evening rush hour on May 17th, 1974, with a fourth going off in Monaghan 90 minutes later.

Pictures of deceased

During the U2 show, pictures of the deceased are displayed on a screen as they play the song Raised by Wolves, written about the 1974 bombings. The performance is preceded by the sounds of explosions.

The Innocence + Experience tour opened in Vancouver in May and has taken in cities all over the US and Europe.

In recent media reports, Ulster Unionist politician and former Belfast mayor Jim Rodgers said the tribute was “a very bad idea and it’s most disappointing because they quite clearly haven’t thought this one through”.

“There isn’t a hierarchy of victims. Those bombs were absolutely horrendous and at the time I totally and utterly condemned them. Families are still in mourning and they are still suffering through losing their loved ones.

“But you have to remember that so many people in Northern Ireland have lost those close to them over 40 years of continuous violence.”

Secretary of Justice for the Forgotten, Margaret Urwin, said the way the media reports had been written appeared to be an attempt to “stir things up” around the issue.

‘Totally misleading’

“In actual fact, he was the only person who said anything about it, and the way the article was written in the Belfast Telegraph was totally misleading. If you read down, nobody has commented apart from this guy, the former mayor, Jim Rodgers. I would just ignore that because I think it was just somebody trying to stir it up really.”

Ms Urwin said U2 had condemned IRA violence “on more than one occasion”. “They are certainly not partisan.”

Interested in collaboration

She told The Irish Times that when the album was released last year, she had written to U2 drummer Larry Mullen to thank the band for the song about the bombings. He had phoned her in March to say the band was very interested in collaborating with Justice for the Forgotten on the tribute.

Ms Urwin added: “I then met with Gavin Friday who works closely with U2 on some of their projects and I set about getting photographs of as many of the victims as possible, and supplied them to them.

“There was one family who said no, they didn’t want to have a photograph in it but that was all. And there are a couple of families where they have all died out.

“There were single people who were killed in a lot of cases and at this stage they have no family left. We weren’t able to get photographs for some of them, unfortunately.”

The families have been invited to the Dublin shows on November 23rd and 24th and are looking forward to attending, Ms Urwin said.