Historic horrors | 

Shankill bomber Sean Kelly's 'one-sided' Troubles tour blasted by victims' families

The convicted IRA killer was pictured recently taking a tour group through Ardoyne, focusing on atrocities carried out on the nationalist community by loyalists
Sean Kelly taking terror tours in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast

Sean Kelly taking terror tours in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast

Steven Moore

Shankill bomber Sean Kelly has got himself a side-line of giving Troubles talks around north Belfast, it has emerged.

The convicted IRA killer was pictured recently taking a group of people round Ardoyne and talking where he focused on atrocities carried out on the nationalist community by loyalists.

The sight of the 47-year-old giving his version of what happened during the Troubles is sure to anger the families of his murdered victims and loyalists alike.

He's pictured holding court at a plaque in Ardoyne to two murdered Catholic civilians who were gunned down by a loyalist death squad in August 1988.

Seamus Morris was just 18-years-old when he was shot dead in a shocking and indiscriminate drive-by shooting at the junction of Etna Drive and Brompton Park.

A second innocent Catholic civilian, Peter Dolan from Andersonstown, was also shot dead as the gunmen sprayed gunfire at a passing Guinness truck which the 25-year-old was working in.

Sean Kelly taking terror tours in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast

Sean Kelly taking terror tours in the Ardoyne area of North Belfast

Seamus was killed instantly by the masked gunmen who opened fire from a passing car.

Seamus's friend, Peter, was also killed in the attack. Peter was hit in the groin and was taken to the Mater Hospital but died a short time later.

Neither victim had any involvement in any paramilitary organisation.

A witness said: "they just shot at anything which moved. They were like a kamikaze unit; they didn't care who they got. They fired at me and an elderly man who was standing across the street".

The coroner said: "they were shooting right, left and centre at everyone in an insane fashion".

The aftermath of the Shankill bombing in October 1993

The aftermath of the Shankill bombing in October 1993

At Seamus's funeral the Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr Cahal Daly, said it was the 26th funeral of an innocent Catholic he had attended in the previous six years.

And he added: "Any Catholic at random in a Catholic street is a target, any member of the public happening to be doing business in a Catholic street at the time is a potential target."

But loyalists contacted the Sunday World furious that Sean Kelly is giving what they believe is a "one-sided" view of the Troubles.

"How can Sean Kelly be fit to tell anyone anything about people who were murdered during the Troubles," said one angry loyalist.

"Terrible things went on during the Troubles on both sides - Loyalist and Republican - things that should never have happened.

"Things like the Shankill bomb. Why doesn't he take his tour down there to explain to his tour groups the shocking things he did?"

What remains clear is Sean Kelly will forever remain one of the most controversial figures from the Troubles and having been allowed out of prison having barely served seven years whatever he does will continue to be subject to scrutiny.

The Seamus Morris and Peter Dolan memorial

The Seamus Morris and Peter Dolan memorial

But one republican told the Sunday World: "Sean Kelly has apologised for what happened on the Shankill, he can't change it and he will live with it for the rest of his life.

"It doesn't matter what he does, he gets a hard time for it. People need to move on and remember Sean Kelly supported the peace process and continues to do so."

Kelly, who was pulled from the rubble seriously injured by his own device, was convicted of the 1993 IRA bombing of a fish shop on the Shankill Road in which nine civilians were killed.

He received nine life sentences for his part in the atrocity but was released in 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

In 2013 he gave another controversial speech at another plaque - this time one dedicated to his fellow IRA bomber Thomas Begley, who died in the botched Shankill attack which led to a series of revenge attacks on the Catholic community.

During the event he apologised to the families and victims of the Shankill bomb but his words were rejected by those left hurt by the bomb as he also described his fellow killer Begley as a "good" and "brave" IRA volunteer.

Thomas Begley

Thomas Begley

Kelly said the bombing "was an IRA operation that went tragically wrong".

He said there was no intention to cause civilian deaths, adding: "I am truly sorry for the loss of life and the injuries that were suffered that day, and for the suffering the families have had to endure.

"I include, of course, in that my sorrow at the death of my friend and comrade and volunteer Thomas Begley."

Last year Kelly was involved in another violent incident when a video circulated on social media of him being restrained while holding an iron bar at a shop he was working in in Ardoyne.

The footage showed Kelly being restrained by others inside the Flax Centre in north Belfast.

Sean Kelly last year

Sean Kelly last year

Justice Minister Naomi Long referred the incident to police after seeing the video, while the DUP said it raised the issue with Secretary of State Brandon Lewis.

Kelly was later interviewed by the PSNI and a report was passed to the Public Prosecution Service

Families of some of the Shankill bomb victims called for Kelly's licence to be revoked however the PPS said they were not going ahead with a prosecution because the video only showed part of what had happened and it's understood there was no complaint made by the other party.

Days after the incident the Sunday World snapped Kelly back at his job in the same shop handing out hand sanitiser to customers.

Steven.moore@sundayworld.com


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