Memory of victims lives on at South Quay store
A shop devastated by the IRA bombing of South Quay has relaunched in a defiant bid to keep alive the memory of those who died in the 1996 blast.
Ihsan Bashir, whose brother Inam and co-worker John Jeffries were killed when a device outside the store was detonated, has opened Baguette Express in place of Newstop2000.
The shopkeeper said following intense competition from a nearby Tesco Express the only option other than a relaunch was closure.
"That was not an action I could take," said Mr Bashir. "There are too many memories here. Two people gave their lives here and just to close it now wouldn't have been right. We had to find an alternative way of keeping this family business going."
Mr Bashir has hired eight new staff for the shop which is a franchise offering baguettes, paninis and sandwiches.
Following the change he now wants to go up against the next door Subway, as well as the store which forced him into the change.
"We looked at a few franchises and this was by far the best," he said. "Growth has been extremely good over recent years.
"It's now something to challenge Subway and also Tesco. I especially want to challenge Tesco as its presence has caused too many small businesses to close."
Since opening, the takeaway store has been making strong sales and Mr Bashir says the former shop's customers are happy with the change.
Mr Bashir also wants a park to be built nearby as a place to remember those who died in the attack, which marked the end of the IRA ceasefire.
That could well happen if the Docklands Victims Association succeeds in getting compensation from Libya for supplying the Semtex used in the South Quay explosion, as well as many others in the '80s and '90s.
Negotiations are currently ongoing between both the UK and Libyan governments on a settlement.
"A nearby park would be a fitting memory for Inam and JJ," said Mr Bashir.