Memorial marks Shankill anniversary

Published Wednesday, 23 October 2013
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A memorial service has been held to remember those killed in the Shankill bomb on its 20th anniversary.

Memorial marks Shankill anniversary
A service remembers the victims of the Shankill bomb on on the 20th anniversary. (© Pacemaker)

Nine people died and 57 were injured in the explosion at Frizzell's fish shop on the Shankill Road in west Belfast on 23 October 1993.

One of the IRA bombers, Thomas Begley, was also killed. His accomplice Sean Kelly was badly injured.

In January 1995 Kelly was sentenced for his part in the Shankill bomb and handed nine life sentences.

He was released under the Good Friday Agreement in 2000.

On Wednesday, hundreds of people - including some of the victims' families - came to West Kirk Presbyterian Church for the service of remembrance as the Shankill Road came to a standstill.

Minister David Clawson said: "I am convinced that the best thing for us to do as men and women of the Shankill today is to gather together in community and on the Shankill. To the relatives seated in the middle of the church, know that today we gather around you, inside this building and outside, we embrace you in your pain."

He told UTV the day was an "opportunity to reflect" on the stories and to "move forward in healing and hope".

Wreaths were laid by local schoolchildren at the bomb site and at the Memorial Park, next to the church.

The events coincided with the timing of the explosion 20 years ago, when the two IRA men walked into the fishmongers carrying a bomb just after 1pm.

The IRA would later claim their target was a meeting of the loyalist UDA's inner council in an office upstairs. But, primed with an 11-second fuse, the device detonated before the bombers could escape.

Wednesday's service followed a walk of remembrance through the Shankill on Tuesday night, passing the site of five bombings which claimed 25 lives during the Troubles.

Charlie Butler helped with the rescue efforts 20 years ago, not realising at first that the bodies of three members of his own family - his niece Evelyn, her partner and daughter - were under the rubbles.

"This time 20 years ago I felt so alone," he said. "And today I didn't, today I had, or should I say, we had people around us that loved us and cared us and showed us the support I think that we still need."

Reacting on Twitter, deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness commented that "the sorrow, grief and loss inflicted on all those who lost loved ones in the IRA's Shankill bomb must be acknowledged with humility and regret".

For more on the story of the Shankill bomb victims, survivors and relatives, you can watch the UTV Live Tonight Special here.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Dub in Dublin wrote (460 days ago):
This was a very sad day in the troubles and our thoughts and prayers are with the families on the Shankill Road.
Eamo1 in Belfast wrote (461 days ago):
To s magowan. Did you also not know the hurt anger and frustration of the people of Derry. They waited far to long for a shambolic appology from England even though the government knew from that fatefull day until they were shown to the world that their Elite force committed murder of innocent people. Did you also not know of the hurt anger and frustration of the poor people in Springhill or the people of Monaghan and Dublin. The only difference is the Nationalist people have been used to this type of action and many clergy and all politicians from the Nationalist side have tried to tell the truth of the dirty war waged upon us and stuck by us and gave support and hope. I do feel the hurt and anger of the people of tge Shankill but remember that there were awful things done on both sides. UTV promoted the Shankill bombing alot more than the other vile acts of agression in this state.
s magowan in belfast wrote (462 days ago):
I do not live on the Shankill so i had no idea of the huge amount of sorrow that was inflicted by the IRA over the years on this community.What surprised and disappointed me was the absence of the leaders of the four main denominations in the country.St Annes Cathedral is only minutes away and there must have been someone of importance who could have attended this memorial service.It is no wonder that many from the PUL community feel that they have been ignored and neglected by their Church Leaders.
Pol in Belfast wrote (462 days ago):
Alan how is the presentation of a wreath by people who want to show their respect " pretty Sick" . This has got totally nothing to do with your sectarian fleg and sick marching antics. I think the only thing sick, is your sick mentality and to try and link it with an atrocity 20yrs ago says more about your warped thinking than about the genuine cross community gesture.
Andy Shankill Road in Belfast wrote (462 days ago):
Get over it Alan. Im sure the wreath will be welcomed and accepted by the majority of the good people on the Shankill
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