SDLP South Belfast MLA Matthew O’Toole has said the devastation and loss of life on Bloody Friday can never be forgotten.
He was speaking ahead of the 50th anniversary of the atrocity on Thursday.
Nine people were killed and over 100 injured when a series of IRA bombs exploded across Belfast on July 21, 1972.
South Belfast MLA Mr O’Toole said:
“Bloody Friday was one of the darkest days of our troubled past. Nine people, including women and children were killed in a series of bombings across our city that left devastation and lives shattered in its wake. Although tomorrow will mark 50 years since these terrible events, they have left an inedible mark on our city and Northern Ireland.
“For the families of those killed and those left with serious and life-changing injuries the decades since Bloody Friday have been a nightmare. When events like this take place, the real number of victims is immeasurable, the events of that terrible day will have reverberations that have left many people suffering, behind closed doors and unseen.
“My thoughts are with all of those who will be finding this anniversary extremely difficult, for many it will bring back incredibly painful memories, but it’s important that we come together to mark this day and the unspeakable acts that were perpetrated in Belfast.
“It’s also important that we use this anniversary as an opportunity to reflect on how far we have come since 1972. Our city and society is today unrecognisable from the events of Bloody Friday, we have a hard-won peace and people are able to go about their daily lives without having to worry about being caught up in bombings or shootings. While we can rightly be proud of how far we’ve come, Bloody Friday should stand as a reminder that we can never allow ourselves to slip back to the past. The events that day were unjustified and unjustifiable, and remain a stain on our history.”