Patrick Magee, the former IRA member who killed five people in a bomb blast at the Grand Hotel in Brighton in 1984, was due to speak at the Wired 2016 technology conference in London next month.
However, after publication of this story, Wired says Magee will no longer appear at Wired 2016
A press release for the event said that Magee was due to talk on stage with Jo Berry, the daughter of Conservative MP Sir Anthony Berry.
Sir Anthony Berry was killed in the bomb blast at the Grand Hotel along with four other people. The explosion failed to kill its primary targets: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet.
Magee would have spoken about the peace process and his time in the IRA. Berry and Magee have toured the world giving talks on the role of forgiveness in resolving war and conflict. Wired has booked a range of speakers that are outside the normal “tech” sphere for its conference, including a comedian and a goat herder.
Magee served 14 years in prison and was released in 1997. The Home Secretary at the time, Jack Straw, attempted to halt Magee’s release, but was unsuccessful.
Since leaving prison Magee has repeatedly defended his role in the conflict. “I regret that people were killed, I don’t regret the fact that I was involved in a struggle,” he told the BBC in 2002. And in 2009 Magee said, “on my conscience I look back to those days and I don’t think I would have made another choice” of his decision to join the IRA.
Lord Tebbit said in 2014 that he is unable to forgive Magee after the blast left his wife Margaret paralysed from the neck down. “I am often asked if I can find it in my heart to forgive the creature, Patrick Magee. That is not possible, for Magee has never repented,” he wrote.
Magee’s talk was not listed on the online agenda or speakers’ page for Wired 2016, but his name had been included in press releases promoting the event since May. Wired says on its website that the conference will let paying guests “discover some of the world’s most disruptive minds and explore the trends of tomorrow”.
Accenture and Telefónica, the two main sponsors for the event, did not respond when asked whether they were aware that Magee was due to appear at the event.