A LEADING member of Sinn Fein has said there is "no excuse" for the suffering and death caused by the IRA's Shankill bombing.
The party's national chairman Declan Kearney made his comments at the party's summer school in west Cork on the issue of reconciliation.
He shared a platform with Alan McBride, pictured, who lost his 29-year-old wife and mother-of-one Sharon in the bomb.
Mr Kearney said the recent riots sparked outside a north Belfast Catholic church and subsequent apology from the Royal Black Institution, showed how Parades Commission determinations could cause a "sense of injustice" and "hurt" that led to such violence.
"Asserting that a political context forced the use of armed struggle as a last resort cannot disguise the massive human hurt caused by IRA actions," Mr Kearney said.
Ten people - including two little girls aged six and 13 lost their lives and almost 60 others were injured when two IRA men blew up Frizzell's fish shop on the Shankill Road in 1993.
The bombers' intended target had been an alleged meeting of loyalist paramilitaries above the shop.
When the bomb exploded prematurely, the blast killed one of the bombers - Thomas Begley - and nine others.
"There is no excuse for the human loss and suffering caused by the Shankill bomb. No reasonable person would try to say otherwise," Mr Kearney said.
"But while we might wish it could be otherwise, that past cannot now be undone, nor disowned by republicans.
"So our political commitment and dedication is to ensure that such pain and suffering never again become the experience of any republican, unionist, and English or Irish citizen."
The Sinn Fein chairman said "no right thinking republican has ever glamorised war".
"We should not seek to romanticise war, or armed struggle, nor the actions of the IRA in this, or any previous generation.
"And, there never was 'a good old IRA' way back when as some establishment revisionists in this state might suggest.
"But neither, will I or other present day republican leaders, hypocritically seek to distance ourselves from the consequences of the armed struggle."
He said initiatives and gestures aimed at healing past hurt and division were "crucial to peace building and reconciliation in the aftermath of political conflict".
But Mr Kearney also said that their potential could "be trammelled" unless they helped build broader commitment to achieving reconciliation.
"The welcome Royal Black apology to the parishioners and clergy of St Patrick's is a significant acknowledgement of local communities' rights to be treated with respect by those who wish to parade.
"But we are left no wiser by this statement as to what sense of injustice or hurt can be caused by determinations requiring loyalist bands to desist from playing music outside Catholic chapels and why that should lead to three nights of orchestrated street violence.
"Even in these circumstances republicans need to have the courage and conviction to keep taking initiatives, regardless to the stance of others," Mr Kearney said.
■ SUFFERING: Sinn Fein national chairman Declan Kearney, above, said there is "no excuse" for the suffering and death caused by the IRA's Shankill bombing, left