Shankill bomb: ‘We have moved on, but we still haven’t got justice’

Victims of one of the most notorious IRA bombings of the Northern Ireland conflict have said they are still awaiting proper justice.

A devastating blast reduced Frizzell’s fish shop on the Shankill Road in west Belfast to a pile of rubble and took nine innocent lives 25 years ago tomorrow. The killer served less than a year in prison for every life he ended.

Charlie Butler, whose niece Evelyn Baird, her partner Michael Morrison (27) and her child Michelle Baird, aged just seven, was among nine innocent people killed by an IRA bomb at a fish shop on the Shankill Road 25 years ago, at the scene of the attack in Belfast, on Sunday October 21, 2018. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

Charlie Butler, whose niece Evelyn Baird, her partner Michael Morrison (27) and her child Michelle Baird, aged just seven, was among nine innocent people killed by an IRA bomb at a fish shop on the Shankill Road 25 years ago, at the scene of the attack in Belfast, on Sunday October 21, 2018. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA Wire

A series of events is planned to mark the anniversary, including a memorial walk and a special church service.

Charlie Butler, 64, scrambled through the rubble along with hundreds of others searching for the wounded. He later discovered his niece, her partner and her child aged just seven had died.

Mr Butler said: “We did not get justice when a man who walked past women and kids into a shop to blow people to bits, did a couple of years in jail and walked out, never to be repentant.

“Who drove them there, who made the bomb, who gave the orders?

“Maybe if we got those questions answered, maybe then things could settle a bit.

“We have moved on, we want to move on.”

The IRA said it was targeting a UDA leadership meeting due to be held above the Shankill fish shop when the device exploded prematurely.

IRA man Thomas Begley also died in the blast.

Another, Sean Kelly, walked free from prison early as part of the Good Friday Agreement deal, struck in 1998, which largely ended decades of violence.

He served less than a year for each life he took.

Mr Butler said the perpetrators had to walk past women and kids, people with prams and into a packed shop.

“I think lunatics are the name for them, I don’t think you could describe them as anything else.”

He had hoped that would be the end of the bloodshed.

It continued, a few days later loyalists opened fire in the Rising Sun bar in Greysteel.

The victims of the Shankill have shared their grief with others caught up in atrocities.

Mr Butler said: “We have told each other, it was not done in our name, and what we are saying is, if it was not done in our name then whose name was it done in?”