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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 20:24 GMT 21:24 UK
Republicans stop Blunkett visit
There was jostling between police and republicans
There was jostling between police and republicans
Work and Pensions Minister David Blunkett called off a visit to west Belfast after a republican protest.

Mr Blunkett was to visit Springvale Training Centre with other EU employment ministers.

But there was jostling outside the building between police and republicans protesting the re-arrest of Shankill bomber Sean Kelly.

He did go ahead with a visit to a jobs scheme in the Shankill Road area with the EU ministers.

Kelly murdered nine people, including two children, in the attack on a fish shop on Belfast's Shankill Road in 1993.

His IRA accomplice Thomas Begley also died in the blast.

Kelly received nine life sentences but was freed early from prison in July 2000 under the Good Friday Agreement.

Protest criticised

He was returned to jail last month after security information indicated he had become "re-involved in terrorism".

Mr Blunkett later said of the protest: "I think all of us have to weigh what we do, what we say, in the light of the particular circumstances of the moment."

He said that the protest had not caused much disruption to his day.

"I had planned to go to the Shankill which I did," he said.

"I planned to see the trainees from Springvale, which I did - and they were kind enough to give me a Celtic clock, which I treasure."

He also signed a book of condolence for the victims of the Thursday's London bombings at Belfast's City Hall.

"There is a certain poignancy to signing the book of condolence here in Belfast which has suffered so much through violence," he said.

Ulster Unionist deputy leader Danny Kennedy criticised the protest.

"It is abhorrent that republicans think it's reasonable to protest against the re-arrest of a terrorist responsible for the mass murder of British citizens, just 24 hours after more than 50 British citizens were murdered by terrorist bombers," he said.




SEE ALSO:
Republicans protest bomber arrest
24 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland
Ahern seeks answers over jailing
20 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland
Shankill bomber returned to jail
18 Jun 05 |  Northern Ireland



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