Uproar over IRA bomb as 'best thing for city'
Published 17/03/2007 | 00:11
A BRITISH Labour MP who said the IRA bomb in Manchester was "the best thing to happen to the city" has been urged to apologise.
Manchester Liberal Democrat leader Simon Ashley said that the remark by Bradford MP Terry Rooney had caused upset to people who had been "scared witless" by the blast in 1996.
The huge explosion on Corporation Street caused enormous damage and prompted a major redevelopment of the city centre.
Mr Rooney said in an interview that Manchester did not need a casino - and added that the IRA bomb "was the best thing to happen" to the city.
Mr Ashley said of the decision to site a supercasino in Manchester: "Clearly, Mr Rooney is one of a number of Labour MPs who has not seen the comments from the independent advisory panel.
"It is entirely because Manchester is the third most deprived local authority in the country and in need of regeneration that we won the bid.
"But I take exception to his comments about the IRA bomb.
"No one who was in the city on that day, who lost their jobs or was scared witless or injured by the blast, would say the bomb was the best thing to happen to Manchester. I wouldn't wish what happened on any town or city."
Veteran Gorton MP Gerald Kaufman also courted controversy when he suggested that the bomb had provided the city with an opportunity to redevelop.
Sir Gerald said at the time: "The bomb was obviously bad, but from a redevelopment point of view, it was a lost opportunity. "While the area around St Ann's Square and Deansgate is not disagreeable, if you compare it with Birmingham and its exciting development, we've got nothing to touch that."