Northern Ireland news

Sinn Féin mayor who joined IRA victims commemoration wants to be 'mayor for all'

Sinn Féin's Brenda Chivers, mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens council, attending Sunday's service, pictured with DUP MP Gregory Campbell. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin
Brendan Hughes

A SINN Féin mayor who attended a memorial service for victims of an IRA bombing has said she wants to be a "mayor for all".

Brenda Chivers was among around 200 people, including relatives of the victims, who attended the event in Coleraine on Sunday.

Six Protestants were killed and more than 30 people injured when a car bomb exploded in the town in June 1973. A second exploded nearby minutes later.

In April, Sinn Féin members of Causeway Coast and Glens council abstained on a vote calling for a memorial service to mark the anniversary of the bombing.

Sinn Féin's Sean McGlinchey, who sits on the council, was convicted over the attack and served 18 years in prison.

He has previously apologised to the victims' families and said he had no issue with the memorial proposal.

Ms Chivers was reluctant to comment yesterday, saying: "I don't want to take away from the families and occasion that it was."

But the councillor, who became mayor last week, added: "Whenever I was brought in as mayor I said I was going to be mayor for all people."

Ms Chivers told The Irish News her party has "repeatedly expressed its deep regret for the bombing in Coleraine".

"As mayor for the council I was invited and attended Sunday's remembrance service for the victims of the Coleraine bomb and their families," she said.

Representatives from all parties on the council were in attendance.

DUP councillor Trevor Clarke said Sinn Féin's presence had upset some people.

"Only two months ago the party group on Causeway Borough Council refused to support proposals to hold a commemoration to mark the 1973 atrocity," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"Sinn Féin's subsequent change of heart is nothing to do with reconciliation."

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