Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Gerry Kelly bristles at Belfast Telegraph questions

Unhappy: Gerry Kelly

Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly was distinctly unhappy after being asked if he was proud of Shankill bomber Thomas Begley.

He was among the crowd at the commemoration at which Begley's fellow bomber Sean Kelly said: "I am proud and I am privileged to have been Bootsey's (Begley's) fellow friend and comrade."

When asked if he shared the view, Gerry Kelly said he was proud of anyone in the IRA, and accused the Belfast Telegraph of not asking sensible questions.

He stated: "I didn't know Thomas but am I proud of people who were involved in the IRA? Yes, I was involved in the IRA myself. Why would I say anything different? With due respect to you, you're looking a headline as opposed to asking a sensible question."

Mr Kelly asked which media outlet this journalist worked for.

When told it was the Belfast Telegraph, he replied: "I should have known," before walking away.

Earlier, Mr Kelly said it was important for him to be there.

"I've gone to many republican commemorations and this is in my area and I thought it was important to come to it," he added.

Mr Kelly said there was no intention to cause offence.

"It is in no way there, as his father said, to commemorate or glorify or any of these accusations which have been made," he added.

"I understand the hurt that was caused in that IRA operation which went tragically wrong.

"He (Sean Kelly) said in his speech, and I have said it and the IRA have said in the past that they are sorry for those deaths and that there is no excuse."

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