A WOMAN will join with her father’s killer for a Huddersfield lecture about conflict resolution.
Jo Berry’s father, Sir Anthony Berry MP, was killed by IRA bomber Pat Magee in the 1984 Brighton Bombing.
This month the pair, who have grown to be friends, will speak at Huddersfield Quaker Meeting House in a lecture named Making Friends With The Enemy.
Belfast-born Magee was given multiple life sentences for the Brighton bombing of the Tory Party Conference, where five people died.
He was released early under the Good Friday Agreement in 1999 and met with Berry the following year.
Jim McAuley, Professor of Political Sociology and Irish Studies at Huddersfield University, told the Examiner the lecture could prove an interesting insight into both sides of the story.
He said: “I think what they are doing is important, because they both try and put what happened at the time in context.
“I think these two in particular have been fairly sensible in their approach in recognising that they were both involved deeply in very different ways.
“He will still come across a lot of criticism for what was going on – it’s not like the wounds have healed and everything is forgotten.
“He has never denied what he’s done and stands by his actions saying that it was necessary, but he regrets that people died.”
Since being released from prison, Magee has been involved in various forms of peace work.
Prof McAuley, originally from Belfast, but who now lives in Holmbridge, said: “What he is doing is reflective of what’s happening in Northern Ireland in general.
“There are a lot of former paramilitary very active in peace work now – but that is not often publicised.”
In the evening lecture in Paddock, Berry and Magee aim to challenge reactions to anger and blame.
They will discuss how the deeper roots of war, terrorism and violence can be addressed through understanding, dialogue and a peaceful non-violent approach.
Robin Bowles, a local Quaker who organised the lecture, said: “Quakers have been working non-violently for peace for over 350 years.
“This lecture is part of our commitment locally to providing opportunities to hear and question people involved in finding alternatives to violence.
“We recognise that resolving violent conflict is not easy and raises many difficult and challenging questions.
“The Peace Lecture is a rare chance to hear directly from people who have made a commitment to exploring dialogue as an alternative to violence.
“As well as having a remarkable story to tell, Jo Berry and Pat Magee have been active proponents of dialogue as opposed to violence as a way forward in the conflict in Ireland.
“This is an important message to hear, no matter what the background of the people giving it.”
The event is on Thursday May 13 at 7.30pm at Huddersfield Quaker Meeting House at Church Street, Paddock.
Admission is free. For more details call 07792 309897.