22 July 2005

Parties clash over Kelly release


The SDLP refused to back a call for Sean Kelly's release

Nationalist and republican councillors in Derry have clashed over a call for the release of Shankill bomber Sean Kelly.

SDLP councillors refused to back a Sinn Fein motion at Thursday's council meeting calling for the north Belfast man to be freed from prison.

The party said Kelly should only be freed if "there was no evidence against him".

Sinn Fein has launched a campaign calling for his release.

Derry SDLP councillor Pat Ramsey said the Northern Ireland secretary had "very good reason to make a full disclosure to the public" about Kelly's arrest.

"Let us all be made aware of the circumstances that led to the revoking of his licence and imprisonment at the present time," he said.


Sinn Fein councillor Paul Fleming criticised Kelly's re-arrest because "his role at sectarian interfaces was nothing but positive".

"He has been arrested at the behest of the rantings of anti-agreement unionists facilitated by securocrats," he added.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell said Kelly should not have been given early release under the Good Friday Agreement.

"The issue isn't one of Sean Kelly helping old ladies across the road or being a social worker. This man is a mass killer. He never should have been released from jail in the first place," he said.

Sean Kelly was one of two men who left a bomb in a shop which killed nine civilians and his IRA accomplice.

His early licence was revoked last month and he was returned to prison by Secretary of State Peter Hain on the basis of a security dossier.

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