President's warning on radicalism of youth
Published 23/07/2015 | 02:30
President Michael D Higgins has urged people to reach out to those at risk of being sucked into radicalisation and extremism.
He was speaking at a visit to the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace centre in Warrington, set up after the boys' murders in an IRA bomb in March 1993.
Mr Higgins warned that radicalisation of young people was fast becoming one of the most significant global threats. "For all of us who are committed to the ideals of freedom, tolerance and peace, it is essential that we engage with those excluded individuals who may be drawn towards extremism and radicalisation," he said.
"We must give leadership in identifying and tackling the social conditions in which extremism can take root."
Ireland's ambassador to Britain Dan Mulhall joined Mr Higgins for the visit to Warrington.
It is 22 years since the IRA murdered three-year-old Johnathan Ball and 12-year-old Tim Parry, who died five days after the no-warning bomb detonated in a bin.
Johnathan was in the town with his babysitter to buy a card for Mother's Day, the next day. Tim, an Everton fan, had been shopping for football shorts when he caught the full force of the explosion. He died in his father's arms five days later in hospital.
No one has been prosecuted for the Warrington outrage on March 20, 1993, that also left 56 people injured.
Mr Higgins praised the work of the peace centre, which opened 15 years ago. Set up by Colin and Wendy Parry, with the support of Johnathan Ball's parents, who have since died, its ethos is to address the causes of violence before, during and after conflict as the most effective way to promote peace.
Mr Higgins said: "While a heinous act cannot, and should not, for the most moral of reasons, be dissolved or forgotten, it is only through an act of imagination and creativity that we can prevent that tragic memory from colonising the future."