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Last Updated: Monday, 18 July, 2005, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Priest calls for bomber's release
Sean Kelly
Shankill bomber Sean Kelly was sent back to jail
A Catholic priest from north Belfast has called for the Shankill bomber, Sean Kelly, to be freed from prison.

Kelly was returned to jail last month after Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain suspended his licence.

Mr Hain said he had been sent back to jail because he had become involved in terrorism again.

However, Father Aiden Troy said there was no apparent evidence to support that claim and Sean Kelly had been a moderating influence in the area.

"If there is evidence and I am being misled then present it and I will be the first to say 'I was wrong, I am sorry'," he said.

"But in the absence (of evidence) I am absolutely certain that this is something that has been wrongly done."

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds condemned Father Troy's call as "crass, insensitive and inappropriate".


"Father Troy makes the bold assertion that Sean Kelly is innocent, yet it is my understanding that the police have significant and weighty evidence against Kelly," he said.

"People could see for themselves from pictures in the press that Sean Kelly was in the middle of rioting in north Belfast."

Kelly was one of two men who left a bomb in a Shankill Road fish shop in 1993. Nine civilians died, as did Kelly's IRA accomplice.

He received a total of nine life sentences but was freed early from prison in July 2000 under the Good Friday Agreement.

His early release licence was suspended by the Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain, after security information indicated Kelly had become "re-involved in terrorism".

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said Kelly's return to prison followed the terms of the Agreement.

Sir Hugh said it was one of those cases where a secretary of state had made a decision and the police had acted on it, in compliance with the law.

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