Bananarama say attending funeral of pal killed by soldier wasn't political
Bananarama star Sara Dallin has insisted the band's decision to attend the funeral of a man shot dead by a soldier in 1983 was not political.
Ahead of a gig at Belfast's SSE Arena on November 9, the singer said she knew Thomas 'Kidso' Reilly before his death.
"Thomas was a friend," Sara explained. "He was the brother of Jim Reilly from Stiff Little Fingers, who Siobhan was dating at the time of the tragedy.
"We went to the funeral, but we have nothing to do with anything else.
"We aren't on any side, we just went to a friend's funeral."
Thomas was shot by a member of the Light Infantry regiment on the Springfield Road in west Belfast on August 9, 1983.
He had been a road manager with the 80s girl group as well as a number of others.
Flowers and cards were sent from a number of big stars at the time, including Paul Weller and Spandau Ballet.
Legal history was made when the soldier who fired the fatal shot, Private Ian Thain, was sentenced to life after being convicted of murder.
It was the first time a British soldier serving here had been convicted of killing someone while on duty.
However, it emerged two years later that Thain had been released on licence and was back serving with his regiment.
The band's upcoming tour will be the first time Siobhan Fahey (58), who has two sons, Sam (30) and Django James (26), with former husband and Eurythmics star Dave Stewart, has toured with the group.
"Siobhan left in 1988, which is such a long time ago, and we continued the group, myself, Keren and Jacquie O'Sullivan," explained Sara (55).
"While we were at the height of our fame, Siobhan never toured with us. We have been so successful and have had so much fun, and she is so happy to be back."
Sara formed Bananarama with school friend Keren Woodward (56), whose partner is former Wham! star Andrew Ridgeley.
She also has a son, Thomas (31), from a previous relationship with model David-Scott Evans.
The girls' reunion only happened following a chance remark by Siobhan, which got back to Sara.
"She was watching Culture Club in LA and asked someone if she'd ever get a chance to do that again with Bananarama," Sara said. "I got in touch with Siobhan and said, 'Let's do it'. It's proving very exciting."
While the girls are looking forward to their new tour, Sara admitted that Monday's suicide bomb attack at the Manchester Arena, which killed 22 people, was "very frightening".
However, she added there was no chance the band would not play.
"There is always the fear of a possible attack," Sara stressed. "You don't know where people are going to strike next, but you have to live your life.
"I am so sorry for what happened. As a mother, it is terrifying to imagine leaving your child at a concert, then turning up to get them and finding out that you will never be able to see them again."
She also put Bananarama's popularity down to the "infectious pops songs" they topped the charts with.
"While we take ourselves seriously, our music is about having a party, so that's what we will be bringing to Belfast. People need this in their lives," Sara said.