Shankill Road bomb victims remembered

Wednesday 23 October 2013 23.05
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The memorial service was held this afternoon for the victims of the Shankill Road bombing
The memorial service was held this afternoon for the victims of the Shankill Road bombing
Wreaths were laid to remember those who died
Wreaths were laid to remember those who died

Children have laid wreaths to remember two young people killed in a no-warning IRA fish shop bombing 20 years ago.

A violin played during a solemn ceremony capping a service of memorial on the Shankill Road in Belfast.

IRA bombers intended to target paramilitaries they believed were meeting upstairs in one of the most famously loyalist parts of the city.

Instead, they ended the lives of nine innocent shoppers and left dozens more injured.

A choir of youngsters from local schools sang during the act of remembrance.

One of the bombers, Thomas Begley, also died in the blast in the packed fishmongers after the device exploded prematurely.

The attack took place on a busy Saturday afternoon in October 1993.

The republican attack happened just a year before the IRA's ceasefire, which paved the way for peace.

But at the time it helped unleash a loyalist backlash in which many more innocent Catholics were killed.

Among the Shankill dead were two children aged seven and 13, Michelle Baird and Leanne Murray.

Pupils from their schools laid flowers to coincide with the exact time of the blast 20 years ago.

A total of 57 people were injured, some seriously. Among them were a 79-year-old woman and two two-year-old boys.

The incident began when two IRA members, Begley and Sean Kelly, wearing white coats and posing as delivery drivers, carried the bomb into the shop.

The IRA said later the targets were loyalists from the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) who they thought were meeting in an office above the shop, but the office was empty.

The old building collapsed in a pile of rubble, sending a cloud of dust billowing across the road. People tore at the masonry in search of survivors.

Today, a credit union stands on the site. Shops pulled down their shutters as a mark of respect and part of the road was closed.

In revenge for the attack, the UDA carried out a series of retaliatory attacks, killing eight people at a Catholic bar in Greysteel near Derry shortly afterwards.

Keywords: belfast, shankhill