Belfast Telegraph

Shankill bomber Kelly pictured canvassing for Sinn Fein

A photo of a Sinn Fein team canvassing for Thursday’s local election with Shankill bomber Sean Kelly (back row, pale jumper, no glasses)
A photo of a Sinn Fein team canvassing for Thursday’s local election with Shankill bomber Sean Kelly (back row, pale jumper, no glasses)

By David Young

A man whose 13-year-old sister was murdered in the Shankill bombing said last night he had been "sickened" after seeing a photograph of bomber Sean Kelly canvassing for a Sinn Fein candidate in this week's council elections.

The photograph, which was taken during canvassing in February, appears on the website of Sinn Fein candidate Taylor McGrann, who is standing for election in the Macedon area of Antrim and Newtownabbey Council.

It shows the convicted bomber in the Bawnmore area with Mr McGrann and his canvass team, who include North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly.

Nine people - including two children - were murdered in the 1993 bombing. A further 57 people were injured by the blast.

At the time the IRA claimed they were targeting loyalist paramilitaries they wrongly believed were meeting in rooms above Frizzell's fish shop.

Kelly - who was himself seriously injured in the explosion he caused - was found guilty of the attack and sentenced to nine life terms. He was released in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

His accomplice Thomas Begley also died when the bomb exploded.

One of Kelly's victims was Leanne Murray, who had just celebrated her 13th birthday.

She had been out shopping with her mother Gina.

The teenager had popped into the fishmongers to buy some whelks, while her mother was in another shop.

Last night Leanne's brother Gary Murray (40) told the Belfast Telegraph: "I am very concerned about this.

"This is the second time I've seen a photograph of him (Kelly) canvassing for Sinn Fein.

"I'm really sick to the stomach with it.

"I feel disgusted by it.

"I told my mum Gina about the photo last night, and she wasn't at all happy.

"I've a lot of questions to ask.

"Why is a convicted multiple murderer of men, women and children allowed to roam the streets putting stuff through people's doors?

"Questions have to be asked.

"This is a convicted multiple murderer running about the place like he's done nothing wrong.

"It's like he's rubbing our noses in it, going, 'Ha ha look at me'.

"When I saw him standing in that photograph, he seems all happy.

"But my mum's not happy, because of what he did.

"I don't think it's very fair at all."

Last year Kelly offered an apology for the bombing, describing it as an "IRA operation that went tragically wrong".

Speaking at a commemoration for Begley held at Milltown Cemetery in Belfast, he said: "I am truly sorry for the loss of life and injuries suffered on that day, but there is nothing I can say that can bring any comfort to the families of the victims."

Sinn Fein has yet to respond to a request for comment.

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