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Families speak of horror at Shankill revelations

 Left: Thomas Begley who was killed as he launched the Shankill bomb attack, and the shocking aftermath of the explosion at Frizzell's fish shop

THE families of some of the Shankill bombing victims have spoken of their disgust at revelations an IRA commander who planned the atrocity was a police informant who had told his handlers of the plan to blow up Frizzell's fish shop.

Charlie Butler, who lost three family members in the 1993 bombing, said he was "not at all surprised" by the news.

"I remember later that day when things settled, at around four o'clock, to be honest the names of the people who had actually done it, the actual names of Begley and Kelly were mentioned. And it was mentioned who sent them out to do it," he said.

"There was certainly knowledge somewhere about the Shankill about what happened."

Mr Butler said if the revelations were proven, he would be "totally devastated".

"Collusion is not a nice word for anyone but when it's collusion (which leads to) civilians, innocent people losing their lives to protect someone else, there has to be a line drawn to say it's wrong," he told

He added: "They were there to do a job to protect people. They didn't do it. They let it happen. It's wrong. There's no other word for it."

Mr Butler said if police had advance warning of the bombing "then they should pay".

Alan McBride, who lost his wife Sharon in the bombing, said some families were upset to read about the details in a newspaper.

"We need to get to the bottom of what actually happened and how true is it," he said.

He told Q Radio that if police knew the bombing was about to take place, "then I think it's absolutely abhorrent to be honest with you".

He added: "At the end of the day my wife and the people near that fish shop were expendable. If somebody in authority, somebody in the police knew about that, I think heads need to roll over this to be quite honest with you."

"I think for me, who's someone who has been a campaigner for truth and justice for many, many years I think again it just highlights the fact that really there needs to be a process where we can look at all of these issues. In the absence of that, and we're going by newspaper headlines, I think it's just causing huge upset and distress to the families," he said.

Mr McBride later added: "If the state has been involved in this atrocity either just by association, because they knew there was a known informant and they knew what was going to happen, I think that's reprehensible to be honest with you. In facet I would go further to say it's actually no state I really want to be part of."

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