Controversy in Belfast over planned rally for IRA bomber Thomas Begley

Tuesday 08 October 2013 17.51
Thomas Begley killed nine people and himself in the blast in 1993
Thomas Begley killed nine people and himself in the blast in 1993

A decision to hold a rally commemorating the IRA man who carried a bomb into a fish and chip shop on the Shankill Road 20 years ago is causing controversy in Belfast.

Bomber Thomas Begley and nine civilians died in the explosion.

A leaflet was distributed in Belfast over the weekend saying "friends, family and comrades" want to hold a commemorative rally for Begley.

The 23-year-old died instantly when the bomb he carried into the shop on the loyalist Shankill Road exploded prematurely.

The IRA said the intended targets were loyalist paramilitaries thought to be in an upstairs room.

The nine people who died were all Protestant civilians, including women and children.

The organisers of the planned event on Sunday week intend to erect a plaque close to Begley's home in Ardoyne.

It comes at a tense time in Northern Ireland when arguments simmer about rights and counter rights.

Unionist politicians want the ceremony cancelled and the proposal has divided nationalist politicians.

SDLP's Alex Attwood said the commemoration will be offensive and should not go ahead.

Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly said Begley's family have a right to remember him and want to do so in a quiet, dignified way.