Newry: A look back in time – Newry Theatre bomb

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Thursday, November 14th, 2013
Community, Features, Old Newry
In our new column Newry Times columnist Sean O’Siridean takes a look back through the Newry of old. He takes a step back in time and looks at how history reported on Newry and the surrounding areas through past decades. Today Sean looks at how Newry was reported in the Ottawa Citizen newspaper after the Newry theatre bomb. Today while casting an eye over Newry’s recent and long past and how it was reported in the international press we look at a story that caught my eye from the Ottawa Citizen newspaper published on 15th June 1953. I found this particularly interesting as I had never heard of this when growing up in the district. Maybe it is widespread common knowledge and I just missed it but even at that I believe it should have some mention in my articles. According to the report in the Ottawa Citizen the time-bomb was placed in the Newry theatre and wrecked it in protest of the scheduled planned viewing of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The bomb is believed to have been planted by members of the Irish Republican Army. Damage was estimated at around £3000. Whilst looking further into the story, it is clear there was some form of spin from the theatre management who claimed ‘there had been heavy bookings, particularly from people from the Irish Republic, who were crossing the border to see it.’ One report in the Barrier Miner newspaper in New South Wales, stated, ‘Three public men of Newry, which has a population of 13,264 returned their Coronation medals last week in protest against the Queen’s title. ‘The Nationalists, who wish to see Eire and Northern Ireland united as an independent nation, have been campaigning against the inclusion of Northern Ireland In the Queen’s title.’
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