Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein backing Shankill bomber plaque

By Bob Malcolm

North Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly has defended the commemoration of a terrorist bomber who killed himself and nine innocent bystanders when his bomb went off prematurely.

A plaque to remember the IRA man is to be unveiled in Ardoyne later this month.

IRA bomber Thomas Begley was this week described as also being a victim by Gerry Kelly.

In October 1993 Begley and a second IRA man, Sean Kelly, intended to plant a bomb in a flat above Frizzell's fish shop on the Shankill Road – where loyalists were expected to meet. The bomb exploded prematurely and 10 people including Begley died.

Gerry Kelly said: "Everyone has a right to remember their loved ones and Thomas Begley's family and friends are no different."

UUP councillor John Scott, whose niece Wilma McKee died in the blast said Begley wasn't a hero nor was he a victim.

"I can understand that a family may want to remember a son, but this isn't the way to do it, given his crimes," he said.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said there is no place in Northern Ireland for the glorification of killers.

"His actions are not to be celebrated but should be a source of shame."

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