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Bomb horror for ‘School of Rock’ kids 20.01.12

by Linda McGrory

SOME 600 school children and their parents from Inishowen were still reeling today after being caught up in the two bomb attacks in Derry.
Students from Moville Community College had travelled to the Millennium Forum theatre where the school was staging a rock musical last night.
Two bombs exploded during the performance, one at Foyle Street and the other at Strand Road. The Millennium Forum, located in the city centre near Foyle Street, was subsequently caught within one of the police cordons.
About half the parents who had travelled over the border to see their children perform in the show had parked their cars in a multi-storey car park at Foyle Road.
The car park was subsequently closed off for the night by police. Parents today praised the quick-thinking of school principal, Anthony Doogan, who allowed the show to go on while, during the performance, organised for buses to travel from Donegal to collect the stranded families. Parents whose cars were not locked in for the night arranged vehicle pooling to take others home.
Mary McCauley, whose teen daughter Kate was performing in the 'The Only Way is Rock' musical, was there with husband Leo and their four other children.
"Anthony Doogan played a blinder. The show went ahead as planned and it was only after the finale that he got up on the stage and told people what had happened. By then he had everything under control and alternative arrangements were in place for people to get home," said Ms McCauley. "He managed to calm down what could otherwise have been a very panicked situation."
Mr Doogan thanked parents for their appreciation but said he was only doing what principals do in their day-to-day work.
Moville Community College Principal, Anthony Doogan.
"I am well used to co-ordinating a group of 500 or more people and I have a lot of experience organising the logistics for that kind of numbers.
"The Millennium Forum had received no instructions from the police so we made a decision that the show would go on.
"I just analysed the situation and came up with a solution I thought was most feasible for everyone at the time." Mr Doogan said he wanted to stress what was good about the night.
"More than 50 of our students put on a marvellous show and I pay tribute to them and their teachers who have worked so hard for months.
"What our students and staff achieved was a tremendous celebration of all that is good in music and in working together.” The performers’ after-show party has been postponed to another date.
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