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Remembering the Stockline tragedy - 10 years on

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Sunday (May 11) marks the tenth anniversary of the deaths of workers in the ICL/Stockline tragedy in Maryhill.

The Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) along with Gary Gentles from Community Central Hall, Patricia Ferguson MSP and Councillor Martin McElroy are supporting families affected and helping them develop plans for a commemoration that celebrates the lives of their loved ones.

A blast tore through the factory at midday on Tuesday, May 11 2004, killing nine and leaving dozens injured.

The tragedy brought together the Maryhill community, the city of Glasgow and communities throughout Scotland and further afield in support of those directly affected.

Ten years on families who lost loved ones want to bring the community together again to help them celebrate the lives of those they lost.

STUC General Secretary Grahame Smith said: “It is hard to believe that it is ten years since this tragedy occurred, an event that would forever change the lives of the nine families who lost loved ones and those left impaired by their injuries.

“The General Council of STUC did not hesitate to provide support for the families and survivors in the weeks and months after the incident, guiding them through the legal process and helping secure the public inquiry into the tragedy.

“Our support is still there ten years later, but we have to mention role played by Gary Gentles, the staff at Maryhill Community Central Halls and the Maryhill Community, not only in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, but at every anniversary since. This is something the families really appreciate.”

Patricia Ferguson ,who was constituency MSP at the time of the tragedy, added: “At this tenth anniversary of the explosion my thoughts are with the bereaved families and those who were injured. No one should lose their life just because they went to work but that is what happened here and in too many other situations in Scotland.

“It is important that we also recognise the work of the emergency services, particularly the fire and rescue services, who worked tirelessly for four days in appalling conditions to rescue the injured and recover the dead. Also the community of Maryhill, which rallied round, providing support to the bereaved families and those who worked on the site of the explosion.”

A memorial garden lies in Councillor Martin McElroy’s ward and he has been working with Community Central Halls to create a legacy for the community.

He said: “The tragedy is still fresh in the minds of so many people in the area.

“The memorial garden is an important feature and has acted as a focal point for families, survivors and the local community to pay their respects.

“Some understandably felt that with the ownership of the garden still belonging to ICL Plastics, there was uncertainty as to its long term future.

“With a new community run trust taking over the running and improvement of the garden, we can develop a permanent memorial that we can be proud of and the Maryhill Community can share.”

Marie Murray, whose husband Kenny was killed in the tragedy and who has since become a grandmother of two, said: “On the May 11 2004, Kenny left the house to go to work and never returned, you hear about this happening to other families but that day it happened to ours.

“He and I had been together since our school days, got married and then had three kids, because of the tragedy I lost my husband, my two daughters and son lost their dad and he was robbed of the chance to see them grow up and his two grandchildren born.

“Kenny was a wonderful husband and a great dad, but also a loving son and brother. You cannot lose somebody like him without it being felt throughout the extended family, and it is a loss we have to suffer every day, even now ten years later.

“Is it worse because of the circumstances; yes. ICL/Stockline to whom his employer was contracted did not take the necessary steps to protect them at work.

“ICL and ICL Tech were fined £200,000 each but the price we have had to pay over the last ten years is immeasurable”.

 

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