20 January 2006

'I Thought Long And Hard About It'

Derry Journal

Friday 20th January 2006

Shankill relative Alan McBride has revealed that he had to think "long and hard" before accepting an invitation to deliver this year's Bloody Sunday memorial lecture in Derry. Mr. McBride - whose wife Sharon was among ten people killed in the 1993 IRA bombing of Frizzell's fish shop - was confirmed this week as the main speaker at the January 27 event in the Guildhall.

Mr. McBride yesterday attended a seminar organised by republican ex-prisoners to discuss proposals for a museum on the site of the former Long Kesh prison. The Belfast man - who, during the 1990s, followed Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams around the world demanding an explanation for the Shankill Road atrocity --admitted to being "surprised" at receiving the invitation to speak at this year's 34th anniversary event. "I must say I was a bit surprised to receive the invitation because I think I'm the first person from my background to be asked to do this. I am nervous about it but also looking forward to it. It will be challenging for both me and my audience.

"I admit I did have to think long and hard about it before I accepted. In fact, it took me a few days to make up my mind. But I concluded that if there is a right time to do this, then it is now." Mr. McBride is hoping for a "good reception" from the audience at the event.

"I'll be saying things republicans may not want to hear," he said. "I haven't softened my opinions or views on the IRA and I will be taking the opportunity to challenge republicans." Mr. McBride said he had no plans to attend the annual commemorative march - which takes place on Sunday, January 29. But, he added: "This does not mean that I do not support the rights of the victims' families to look for justice."

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