Brought together by the atrocities of this week 20 years ago, a man who lost three family members in the Shankill bomb and a young man and woman whose father was gunned down in a UFF revenge attack days later yesterday travelled to Greysteel to “let them know we still recognise their pain”.
Charlie Butler, 58, who was helping dig bodies out of the Shankill bomb when he discovered his relations, and Leanne and Mark Rodgers, whose father was murdered in a UFF revenge attack at Kennedy Way bin depot days later, yesterday laid a wreath in the Co Londonderry village.
Mr Butler’s niece Evelyn Baird, 27, her partner Michael Morrison, 27, and their seven-year-old daughter Michelle were murdered in the Shankill bomb.
He met Leanne Rodgers and her brother during a 20th anniversary media event.
Charlie, a long-term Shankill resident, said: “I’m glad the Rodgers travelled down with me this morning because it sends out a strong message to the world, that we did not want what happened.
“The last time I met Greysteel victims was 20 years ago when we went down to tell them that what happened was not done in our name.
“At the time a statement went out from the UFF saying it was retaliation for the Shankill bomb.
“But today was a good experience for everyone. We were well received by the families. We wanted to let the people of Greysteel know we are thinking about them as they go through with the 20th anniversary. We went through it just last week.”
Mr Butler said, in common with Shankill victims’ families, “the people of Greysteel feel it just happened yesterday”.
“To the outside world it is the 20th anniversary memorial service, but to the families it could have happened 20 minutes ago,” he said.
“They said that they know it wasn’t done in anyone’s name.
“They are beautiful people.
“In their silence they have been very strong and sometimes saying nothing is as loud as speaking out. Sometimes silence is the thing to do.
“They also said from 20 years ago we have been their friends and will remain their friends.
“We are united in what we went through.”
Andersonstown mother-of-one, Leanne, 23, said she and her 27-year-old brother wanted to visit Greysteel “to let them know we have not forgotten their pain”.
She said: “Supposedly the UFF shot my daddy. They said it was in retaliation for the Shankill bombing.
“I was three years old and I only remember bits and pieces about my daddy.
“I remember when he died and my mummy finding out about it on Teletext. we had heard something had happened, but we didn’t know who was injured.
“I know they went into the bin yard that day and shouted they were going to kill as many Catholics as they could.
“Eight of the workers were shot that day but my daddy and James Cameron died.
“My daddy was innocent, out doing a day’s work and he came home in a box.”
Leanne said the anniversary of her father’s death is always “painful”.
“Mummy was never the same after it,” she said.