Belfast Telegraph

Procession remembers victims of five atrocities on Belfast’s Shankill Road

Those killed in the Shankill bomb, as well as attacks on the Balmoral Showrooms, Bayardo Bar, Four Step Inn and Mountainview Tavern, were remembered.

A poignant procession has taken place along Belfast’s Shankill Road to remember the victims of five atrocities.

Some 26 were killed, including four children, in attacks at sites along the road between 1971 and 1993.

The most deadly of the attacks was the bombing of Frizzell’s fish shop, in which nine were killed.

One of the IRA bombers was also killed in that blast.

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Michelle Williamson, whose mother and father died in the Shankill Bomb, is comforted during a memorial march in Belfast (Niall Carson/PA)

The procession on Monday evening started at Shankill Leisure Centre, close to where the Balmoral Showrooms once stood.

Four people including a 17-month-old boy, Colin Nicholl, were killed in a bomb at the premises on December 11 1971 which was attributed to the IRA.

Colin’s father Jackie laid a wreath in memory of his young son.

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Jackie Nicholl, whose 17-month-old son died in a blast at the Balmoral Showroom in 1971 (Niall Carson/PA)

He described the procession as “very poignant”, and also spoke of his gratitude to the people of the Shankill Road who came together in the aftermath of the blast to dig through the rubble to rescue survivors.

“I will always be grateful to the people of the Shankill,” he said.

A cross made out of poppies was placed on walls at each of the locations.

As the procession made its way up the Shankill Road, an act of remembrance was carried out at each site.

Local clergy took part in readings and the names of those killed were read out.

Up to 300 people took part in the event.

Respects were paid at the site of the Bayardo Bar, at which five people died in an IRA bomb attack on August 13 1975.

Next was the site of Frizzell’s fish shop, which was devastated by an IRA bomb on October 23 1993.

A number of families who lost people in this bomb attack comforted each other after laying wreaths and pausing for a moment of reflection.

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Relatives of those killed in the Shankill Road bombing embrace after laying wreaths at the scene (Niall Carson/PA)

The procession next paused at the site which used to be the Four Step Inn, where on September 29 1971 two men were killed in an explosion.

It finished at the Mountainview Tavern at the top of the Shankill Road where on April 5 1975 five were killed in a gun and bomb attack.

One of the organisers of the event, Jackie Redpath, described it as a “peaceful reflection”.

“Tuesday is the 25th anniversary of what has become known as the Shankill bomb, but there was another four lethal attacks on this road,” he said.

“It is important to recognise that for all the families and this community who carry the scars.”

DUP councillor Brian Kingston was among the procession.

He said the event had been organised by local clergy and community representatives to show support to the families who had lost loved ones in the attacks.

“There was no anger, it was about wanting to remember those who had died and support their families,” he said.

A church service will take place on Tuesday at West Kirk Presbyterian Church to mark the 25th anniversary of the Shankill bomb.

It will include a performance by a united school’s choir from the local primary schools.

A bell will toll nine times for each of the victims.

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