Tuesday 19 June 2018

Father of IRA bomb victim who inspired 'Zombie' was 'completely unaware' song was tribute to son

Johnathan Ball, left, and Tim Parry died in an IRA bomb attack in Warrington in 1993
Johnathan Ball, left, and Tim Parry died in an IRA bomb attack in Warrington in 1993
Martin McGuiness (left) meets Colin Parry

Sasha Brady

The father of the IRA bomb victim who inspired The Cranberries song Zombie said he was "completely unaware" the song was a tribute to his son until he learned of Dolores O'Riordan's death.

Dolores O’Riordan died suddenly in London at the age of 46 on Monday.

Colin Parry appeared on BBC Good Morning Ulster this morning to pay tribute to the singer and rock icon.

Mr Parry's 12-year-old son Tim was killed alongside three-year-old Jonathan Ball in an IRA bombing in Warrington in 1993. The Cranberries' song Zombie, released in 1994, was written in memory of the two boys.

Colin Parry's 12-year-old son Tim was killed by an IRA bomb in Warrington 25 years ago
Colin Parry's 12-year-old son Tim was killed by an IRA bomb in Warrington 25 years ago

Mr Parry told BBC Good Morning Ulster he had been touched by the lyrics but had been unaware of their significance until yesterday.

"Only yesterday did I discover that her group, or she herself, had composed the song in memory of the event in Warrington," he said.

Martin McGuiness (left) meets Colin Parry
Martin McGuiness (left) meets Colin Parry

"I was completely unaware what it was all about.

"My wife came home from the police centre where she worked yesterday and told me the news.

"I got the song up on my laptop, watched the band singing, saw Dolores and listened to the words. The words are both majestic and also very real."

Mr Parry said the event at Warrington affected families in the UK and Ireland "in a very real way".

"Many people have become immune to the pain and suffering that so many people experienced during that armed campaign," he said.

"To read the words written by an Irish band in such a compelling way was very, very powerful.

Dolores O'Riordan in The Cranberries' video for Zombie
Dolores O'Riordan in The Cranberries' video for Zombie

"I likened it to the enormous amount of mail expressing huge sympathy that we received in the days, weeks and months following our loss. Proportionately a very high total of that came from the island of Ireland," he said.

"It was a shock that a lady so young should die so unexpectedly," he added.

On March 20, 1993, a bomb was planted in a litter bin in Warrington city centre by the IRA. When it exploded it killed 12-year-old Tim Parry, three-year-old Jonathan Ball and injured 54 other people.

When the news broke, The Cranberries were on tour in the UK and O'Riordan was on a tour bus in London. She wrote Zombie alone in her hotel room between tours and the song was released in September 1994 as the lead single from the band's second studio album, No Need to Argue.

It reached number one in Australia, Belgium, France, Denmark and Germany.

"I remember at the time there were a lot of bombs going off in London and the Troubles were pretty bad," O'Riordan told Team Rock last year.

"I remember being on tour and being in the UK at the time when the child died and just being really sad about it all.

"These bombs are going off in random places. It could have been anyone, you know?"

She added: "It's a tough thing to sing about but when you're young you don't think twice about things, you just grab it and do it.

"As you get older you develop more fear and you get more apprehensive but when you're young you've no fear."

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