In a week where we have had the unveiling of a plaque to Thomas Begley who died planting a bomb on the Shankill Rd by Republicans, a march commemorating the innocent victims of the same bombing by their local community, the release of a book by Anne Cadwallader which is a stunning indictment of British Government security force policy and collusion and, finally, a visit to Belfast by Aung San Suu Kyi, I thought I’d be better saying nothing to be honest.
I’ve changed my mind so forgive me if I ramble a bit.
The BBC Newsline report on the tragedy interviewed the Reverend Margaret Ferguson (Shankill Methodist Church) who spoke of the bombing “where 9 people lost their lives”. In actual fact, of course, there were 10, including Begley. Nobody has mentioned the fact that Loyalist paramilitaries saw fit to base their HQ in such a location. The plaque visible in the BBC report on the first floor clearly reads “West Belfast UDA HQ” It is now clear that Johnny Adair and his cronies were the target and the intention was not to cause civilian casualties. It is worth remembering that at least 14 innocent catholics were murdered as direct reprisals in response. That is not to excuse or condone in any way what occurred on the Shankill Rd.
It may not be the done thing in certain circles but it does nobody credit to twist facts to suit agendas or to choose who the victims are. What we should be trying to do is learn lessons from the mistakes of the past. It makes us all poorer to allocate blame
Finally, A song about Aung San Suu Kyi by Damien
Dempsey Rice with Lisa Hannigan;