Calling for a new inquiry into the Deal barracks bombing

I have called for a fresh investigation into the Deal barracks bombing that took place 30 years ago this week – as the local Royal Marines Association labelled it “unfinished business”.

The attack on September 22 1989, claimed by the Provisional IRA, killed 11 Royal Marines Band Service members and wounded 21 others. No-one has been convicted in relation to it and Kent Police says the case remains open.

I have written to the Government’s Northern Ireland Secretary – whose department is setting up an Historical Investigations Unit – to demand a full inquiry. This was an appalling attack on our community. Totally innocent band members lost their lives at the hands of terrorists.

Yet all the Northern Ireland Office seems interested in is hounding our army veterans – for trying to protect us from the same evil people. This is abhorrent and I strongly believe our efforts should be focused on securing justice for the band members and their families. We must have a fresh inquiry. No whitewash or cover-up by Northern Ireland ministers. And we must see an end to the harassment of those who have so bravely fought to defend us.

I have written the Justice Secretary, the Defence Secretary and the Northern Ireland Secretary demanding a new investigation. A 15lb time bomb detonated in the recreational centre changing room in 1989, destroying the recreational centre, levelling the accommodation building next door and causing extensive damage to the rest of the base and nearby civilian homes.

David Storrie, a former Royal Marine and President of Deal’s Royal Marine Association, said the failure to prosecute anyone for the bombings represented “unfinished business”.

Mr Storrie said: “The fact that no one has been caught has been a running sore for The Royal Marines Band Service and The Royal Marines. That view is also felt by the people of Deal, where so many were affected by this horror in some way. 

“It had a definite bad and lasting effect on Lt Col Richard Dixon RM, Commanding Officer of Royal Marines Deal at that time, and I have no doubt that it contributed greatly to his early death

“I and many people will be remembering with great sadness the tragedy and the unfinished business on Sunday.”