Belfast, Ireland (TFC) – In 1993 an Irish republican paramilitary organization, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA), carried out an attack on Shankill road in Belfast, Ireland. The intended target of the IRA were leaders of a loyalist terrorist group, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), who had a scheduled meeting above Frizzell’s fish shop. According to Wikipedia “Two IRA members were to enter the shop disguised as delivery men, then force the customers out at gunpoint and plant a time bomb with a short fuse. However, when the IRA members entered the shop with the bomb, it exploded prematurely. One of the IRA members was killed along with a UDA member and eight Protestant civilians. More than fifty people were wounded. Unbeknownst to the IRA, the meeting had been rescheduled.”
The Shankill bombing became one of the most infamous actions carried out by the IRA during the war for an independent Northern Ireland during a time known as “the Troubles“. The IRA are generally known for their precise targeting of their enemies e.g. British military, UDA, UVF. They’ve also been known to call in warnings when their primary target was the infrastructure of their enemy, such as the 1996 bombing on Corporation Street in Manchester England. That 3,300 pound bomb was the largest bomb detonated in England since WWII; the explosion caused £700 million in damages but no one was killed. On that grim day on Shankill road, why did the IRA miss their target? How could they have killed a handful of civilians and one of their own? Were they sloppy and careless, or were they set up to fail in every way possible by the British government.
The Shankill bombing, like all acts of war, was tragic especially because it claimed the lives of civilians, including two children. After the incident, the IRA lost much of its public support. The bombing also brought on reprisal attacks by loyalists and UDA members the following week resulting in fourteen casualties, the majority of whom were Irish Catholics. Evidence now shows the IRA were set up, and that the British government was responsible for the Shankill bombing, thus vindicating the IRA. In light of the now decrypted documents taken by the IRA during their raid on Special Branch at Castlereagh on Saint Patrick’s Day 2001, fingers now point the blame towards British intelligence agencies.
The classified documents show that “the IRA commander who planned the Shankill bombing was a police informant who had told his handlers of the plan to blow-up Frizzell’s fish shop in 1993,” stated Allison Morris of The Irish News who had access to the classified documents taken during the Castlereagh break-in. The Irish News went on to say “the former ‘blanketman’, now aged in his late 50s, was known as ‘agent AA’ and calls made to his Special Branch handlers are logged throughout the documents.” The informant who had been working with Special Branch for nearly ten years was the leader of the Ardoyne unit of the IRA during a time when they were involved in many bombings and shootings. The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) are under investigation for failure to prevent the Shankill bombing and other atrocities.