State Papers

Ted Kennedy was 'shocked and outraged' by Shankill bombing and Greysteel massacre

Senator Ted Kennedy with SDLP leader John Hume during his visit to Derry's Bogside in 1998. Picture from Pacemaker
Éamon Phoenix

US senator Ted Kennedy contacted the Northern Ireland Office to express his 'outrage' at the killing of 24 people in just nine days in October 1993.

The veteran politician, a close ally of SDLP leader John Hume, faxed the NIO following the Shankill bombing in Belfast, the Greysteel massacre in Co Derry and several other murders.

Senator Kennedy made particular reference to 13-year-old Leanne Murray, one of the Shankill dead.

"What is especially heart-breaking about Leanne's death is that her young life was already a hopeful example of the possibility of peace," he said.

"In her own way, she was breaking the sectarian divide... Leanne spent the summer of 1993 in the US as part of a programme to bring Catholic and Protestant children together.

"While there she became friends with Roisin Carlisle, a Catholic girl from Belfast whom she was unlikely to meet in the divided conditions of Northern Ireland... Both young girls became friends in the US and now one of them has died."

The senator said he hoped people would heed the words of Leanne's mother Gina Murray who said: "If people could be like Roisin and Leanne, it would be a better place. Leanne would still be alive."

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