Mother of Shankill bomb victim calls for probe into 'informant'

 Leanne Murray (13) who was killed in the Shankill bomb and her grieving mother Gina (right). Picture by Mark Marlow
 Leanne Murray (13) who was killed in the Shankill bomb and her grieving mother Gina (right). Picture by Mark Marlow  Leanne Murray (13) who was killed in the Shankill bomb and her grieving mother Gina (right). Picture by Mark Marlow

THE mother of a teenage schoolgirl who died in the 1993 Shankill bombing has called for an independent inquiry into the revelation that the IRA commander at the time of the atrocity was a Special Branch informer.

Gina Murray, who was shopping with her 13-year-old daughter Leanne on the Shankill Road on the day of the bombing, said she has "cried hard and sore" after finding out opportunities may have been missed to prevent the attack.

Ten people - including two children and one of the IRA bombers Thomas Begley - died in the October 1993 blast.

The Irish News revealed yesterday that an agent known as AA was working for Special Branch at the time of the bombing.

A former blanketman now in his 50s, he was stood down by the organisation after his role as a police informer was discovered following the IRA break in at Castlereagh on St Patrick's Day 2001.

His secret role was discovered after the IRA decoded encrypted documents detailing his regular contact with Special Branch. He was stood down in 2002 and replaced with high profile republican Eddie Copeland.

However, rank and file IRA members were never informed about why he had been replaced and his role as an agent was subsequently covered up.

The Police Ombudsman's Office has confirmed it received a complaint in relation to the allegations from a family member of one of the victims.

A spokesman said the complaint centres on two concerns: "Did the RUC have information which would have allowed them to prevent the bombing and was the subsequent investigation compromised; did the police fail to 'deliver justice to the families of those who lost their lives in the bombing?'

Gina Murray said her family believe the original police investigation "was flawed from the start" as she called for an independent enquiry into the atrocity.

"My child died in the Shankill bomb but look at all the atrocities that happened after that in retaliation. If this was allowed to go ahead they're as much victims of that as we are.

"I broke down in tears when I heard this, I just broke down it's devastating. Why was nothing done, why not stop all those innocent people getting killed?

"My daughter could have left that shop and come to meet me that day just as we had planned. We could have done our shopping and gone home happy", she said.

"Just knowing that it could have been stopped and she could be here with me today, I've cried hard and sore.

"She'd be 35 now, she turned 13 on the 25th September and she died on the 23rd October. She hadn't even got to celebrated her teenage years.

"Four short weeks of being a teenager and she was taken off us.

"Will the truth come out? I don't think so but there's no harm in trying to find out.

"My faith has been eroded. We've been let down", she added.

Gary Murray said he now intends to take up the fight for justice for his little sister and push for full disclosure in relation to the attack.

"My mum has been through so much, but I'm old enough now to push this on. I'm going to speak to the Police Ombudsman about this and fight for the truth", he said.

"My sister was bubbly, she was cheeky, she loved to fight with me, just a typical wee sister really," he said.

And Mr Murray added that the family will now be pushing for an inquiry.

"Whatever happened with the Ballymurphy families, whatever happened with Bloody Sunday, why should we get anything less than that, we want an inquiry.

"This has opened a big can of worms but I'm going to carry it on for my mum.

"I'm going to try my damnedest to find out the truth," Mr Murray added.