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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Bloody Friday atrocity ‘has been forgotten’ – victim’s daughter

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he daughter of a man killed in a series of bombings in Belfast said she feels like both he and the atrocity has been forgotten.

Lynda Van Cuylenberg’s father Jackie Gibson, who was 45 and a bus driver, was one of nine people killed in a series of bombs planted across the city by the IRA on July 21, 1972, a day which later became known as Bloody Friday.

She spoke of her sadness that nothing had been planned to mark the 50th anniversary of the atrocity later this year.

Lynda Van Cuylenberg whose father Jackie Gibson was one of nine killed in a series of bombings across Belfast which have become known as Bloody Friday. (Rebecca Black/PA)

Ms Van Cuylenberg said she wrote to Belfast City Council earlier this year to ask how the anniversary was to be marked, but did not receive a response.

“This year in July marks 50th anniversary of Bloody Friday, we as a family still have had no justice for our father’s murder,” she said.

“We have actually been forgotten. I naively believed when I emailed Belfast City Hall in January this year inquiring about what was going to take place for the 50th anniversary, I would get a response. Afterall my father was one of the innocent victims murdered that day.

“I am still waiting to hear from them.

Following an intervention by the victims group SEFF, the DUP has since brought forward proposals to commemorate the anniversary, which was backed by all parties on the council apart from Sinn Fein.

Ms Van Cuylenberg said she also wrote to Ulsterbus to ask the same question, but has not received a reply.

“Bloody Friday has been forgotten by all, apart from the victim’s family and survivors,” she added.

She was just 15 and recently returned from a Girls Brigade trip to the Isle of Man on the day her father was killed, and saw him in his bus driving past just hours before he died.

She said her childhood ended that day, and described constant worry and panic attacks since then.

Ms Van Cuylenberg was speaking at an event to mark European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism at the La Mon Hotel on the outskirts of East Belfast.

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