Ulster Unionist Leader, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has encouraged people to remember all those who were killed this week twenty years ago. He was speaking after the series of events to mark the 1993 Shankill bomb, which killed ten, including one of the bombers.
“I had the honour of walking with the people of the Shankill Road on Tuesday evening, stopping not just at the site of Frizzells Fish Shop, but all five sites where Republican bombs took innocent lives. Now, we must not forget those who died because Loyalists decided in their twisted logic to take more innocent lives in what they saw as revenge. I think particularly of Mark Rodgers and James Cameron, the two Belfast City Council workers shot to death at the Kennedy Way Cleansing Depot, plus, of course, those who died in the Rising Sun Bar in Greysteel. There was also Martin Moran, a taxi driver shot within hours of the Shankill bomb, Sean Fox, and the Cairns brothers, Rory and Gerard, victims of the UVF.
“Those acts were not carried out in my name, or in the name of my Party, and I encourage all our citizens to reflect on the dark week Northern Ireland endured 20 years ago, and the continuing burden being carried by the families of those who died.
“Today, we hear more revelations about allegations of collusion between the security forces and Loyalists terrorists in the 1970s. I say clearly, collusion was wrong, it was not done in my name, and anyone guilty of it who can be made amenable to the law, should be made amenable.
“It may have been inevitable, given the length of the Troubles and the massive number of people serving in the police and army, living in constant fear for their own lives and the lives of their loved ones, that bad decisions were made. That excuses nothing. Collusion was wrong. It must also be said that there should never have been anything or anyone to collude against. There should never have been any terrorist organisations and those who picked up the gun and the bomb are the ones who made the worst choice.
“No doubt, Sinn Féin will use this new book about alleged collusion as a stick to beat unionism with, but there are problems only they can deal with and it is this. One is the contrast between my willingness to say collusion is wrong, and Gerry Kelly claiming he would do all he did over again, if he had to, including shooting a prison warder in the head.
“The other issue is how they expect to be treated as credible commentators when on the one hand they call for an independent international truth recovery process, but on the other hand Martin McGuinness tells the Saville Inquiry there are aspects of his own past he will not disclose ‘under any circumstances’.
“We may not have agreement in sight on these matters, but surely we can come together to remember the suffering of those who lost loved ones in the dark week 20 years ago, which started with the Shankill bomb, ended with the Greysteel massacre, and saw six others lose their lives in between.”