Thomas McLaughlin | In Memoriam
My name is Anne Cunningham and I am the daughter of Thomas McLaughlin.
I currently live in Manchester and have lived here for 44 years.
I would like to pay tribute to my loving father Thomas and give a brief account from that time.
My father was a very charming, quiet man, always smiling, with never a bad word to say about anybody.
My father was very welcoming and everybody, regardless of where they come from or who they were, was always welcome to our home.
My father loved Manchester and always enjoyed his time here. He loved coming here to see his grandchildren. Two of his grandchildren never got to see what a lovely man he was.
I remember the night that my father was killed. I remember watching the television on that night and there was a news flash that there was an explosion in a bar in Belfast. The main news came on shortly after and confirmed that the explosion was McGurks bar.
I immediately knew that my father was in the bar as he regularly went to McGurks on a Saturday night to visit all of his friends. Like myself, my father was never a big drinker and only went to the bar on a Saturday night. He worked very hard all week and Saturday night was a night he could relax and enjoy the company of his friends. I remember he used to go out at 7.30pm until the bar had closed at 10.30.
Phones in them days were very rare and we never had one. My brother who was over for a visit knew somebody on the Old Park Road who had a phone. As we didn’t have a phone I went to the phone box and rang but the line was just ringing with no answer.
We went to the police station straight away to see if they had any information and I remember we gave my fathers name. The policeman said are you ready to accept any bad news and we said yes. After around an hour he came back and said my father was not one of the ones that had died in the explosion.
The next morning I received a telegram informing me that my father had died in the explosion.
I went home from Manchester for my father’s funeral. I was in my mother’s house the day after when my father’s body came home. My mother and sister were out at the time to buy a plot for the grave, and there was just me my mother’s friend in the house when the undertaker came in. I was told we had the wrong body. I was in shock and he asked me to identify if it was my father. I remember feeling so ill at the time and my brother-in-law who lived just a couple of doors away had to do it.
There isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of him. I will always love him and I miss him.
I would also like to pay tribute to the men, women and children that died with my father that night. I hope the relatives of the victims of McGurk's can find peace some day. You are all in my prayers.
I would also like to pass on my sincerest thanks to Ciarán MacAirt for writing this book.
Anne Cunningham, daughter of Thomas McLaughlin