Brighton Bomber 'Would Do It Again'

By James Tapsfield, PA News
12:05pm (UK)

The terrorist who planted the Brighton Bomb which devastated the Conservative party conference nearly 20 years ago said today he would do the same again.

Convicted IRA killer Patrick Magee, who set the timer on the device that killed five people and injured 34 in October 1984, said the attack “made a contribution to the peace process”.

Next Tuesday it will be 20 years since the father-of-two checked into the Grand Hotel under the alias Roy Walsh and hid the bomb under a bath in room 629.

A judge recommended Magee should serve 35 years for eight life sentences when he was convicted of the bombing in September 1986.

He was released from the Maze Prison five years ago as part of the Good Friday Agreement and now lives in West Belfast with his family.

In an interview with the Brighton Argus published today, the republican said he regretted the loss of life from the bombing, but added: “We always look back with the benefit of hindsight to see if we would do things differently, and that is very true 20 years on.

“But I have to say I would have done it – I would have planted the bomb in the hotel.

“I still believe Brighton made a contribution to the peace process.”

He claimed that the attack was a “legitimate operation”.

“The intention was to target the British political establishment,” he said.

“I didn’t target Margaret Thatcher, the IRA did not target Thatcher. I was targeting the British establishment – it could just as easily have been a Labour government.”

Magee said his biggest concern had been for the safety of staff at the Grand.

“We did try to minimise the risk. We were more concerned about staff at the hotel.

“The operation was timed with a view of protecting the hotel.

“But I would not have been concerned about relatives of the Tories. At that time I would have seen them as part of the political establishment. Now I see them as innocents and I cannot justify that.”

Magee added that he was “sorry” for any innocent people who were caught up in the blast in the early hours of the morning on October 12, 1984.

“Any civilian that was caught up in the bombing, I do apologise. I am sorry, I do regret that.

“How could I not regret that Margaret Tebbit is in a wheelchair? I do regret that. Whatever I do will not bridge that gap.”

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