Northern Ireland

Prominent west Belfast republican Rab Fryers dies

Sentenced to 25 years in 1995 for trying to plant bomb in London

Belfast republican Rab Fryers has died
Belfast republican Rab Fryers has died

A prominent west Belfast republican convicted of attempting to plant a bomb in England has died.

Robert ‘Rab’ Fryers, who was in his 70s, was jailed for 25 years in 1995 over a failed bomb attack in London.

Another man, Hugh Jack, was sentenced to 20 years, after the pair were convicted at the Old Bailey of conspiring to cause explosions.

At the time it was reported to be the first anti-IRA operation run jointly by MI5 and the police.

Mr Fryers was arrested as he waited at a bus stop in London with the device, which contained two-and-a-half kilograms of Semtex and petrol.

It is believed the target was in London’s financial district and may have been a pub.

The judge said the device was of a “truly devastating capacity for causing death, serious injury and destruction” and the petrol meant “there could have been a fireball and those in range would have no chance of escaping harm, injury or possible death”.

It was later reported Mr Fryers told the court: “When I came to this country I believed what I was doing was right, and still believe that.”

He added that hoped that the peace process would work “and will be just and lasting and free from British interference”.

It is understood he was released from prison under the Good Friday Agreement.

Republicans paid tribute to Mr Fryers on social media.

One poster offered sympathies to his family adding “remembering the wonderful times we had at all those Gathering of the Clans when the ex-POWs that were held in England reunited.

“So, so many have left us now.

“Forever remembered with pride.”

Another poster described Mr Fryers as a “gentleman”.