The unveiling of a public plaque to Shankill bomber Thomas Begley was “morally wrong and grossly inconsiderate” the MP for north Belfast said yesterday.
Nigel Dodds of the DUP hit out at the republican commemoration on Sunday saying the plaque honouring Begley “exposes the emptiness of Sinn Fein claims to have concern for the victims of IRA terrorism”.
He added: “Contrary to previous utterances from Sinn Fein, this is an IRA plaque commemorating Begley as a member of the IRA and glorifying his terrorist crimes, which included mass murder of innocent people.
“To unveil such a plaque in a public street suggests that Begley should be viewed as some sort of role model.
“Sinn Fein may take that view but the vast majority of people remember the brutal and indiscriminate consequences of terrorism. It should not be publicly honoured.
“Terrorism should be remembered as evil, as misguided and as horrific.
“The extended Shankill community and wider society will this week pause to remember the terrible taking of innocent life perpetrated by the IRA on the Shankill Road on 23rd October 1993.
“The unveiling of this public plaque commemorating one of the perpetrators was morally wrong and grossly inconsiderate. It will only increase the deep hurt felt by the many victims of this bombing, particularly that of the families who lost loved ones.”
Meanwhile, UTV is running a special documentary tonight at 10.35 about the Shankill bombing with correspondent Jane Loughrey.
The device is said to have had a fuse of only 11 seconds leaving little time for civilians to escape.
Graham Harrison was 13 years old when the bomb exploded, hurling both him and his father across the street.
He told UTV: “I remember the smell, the burning smell – the dust was everywhere… My face was burnt…I just remember getting took up to the Mater.”
Evelyn Baird and Michael Morrison and their seven-year-old daughter Michelle were killed.
The couple’s two other children, nine-year-old Darren and six-week old Lauren, were orphaned and brought up by their grandparents.
Lauren told UTV: “I was only a baby so I didn’t really understand what was happening.
“I never knew any different.
“But still, to think back – all my friends have mummies and daddies and I don’t, and I have never been able to call anybody mummy or daddy.”