Sinn Fein furious as Hain orders leading republican back to prison

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The Independent Online

One of Belfast's best-known republican figures, convicted of a bombing in 1993 in which nine Protestants died, has been returned to prison on suspicion of having become reinvolved in terrorism.

Sean Kelly, from the republican Ardoyne district in north Belfast, was arrested on the orders of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain, who described him as a danger to others and as likely to commit further offences. The move drew an angry response from Sinn Fein, further raising tensions after trouble broke out at a loyalist parade close to Ardoyneon Friday night.

Kelly was one of hundreds of republican and loyalist prisoners granted early release under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. Those deemed to have returned to active paramilitary involvement are subject to re-imprisonment.

The power has, however, been used only rarely, most notably with the loyalist leader, Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair.

Peter Hain said: "I am satisfied that [Kelly] has become reinvolved in terrorism and is a danger to others and, while he is at liberty, is likely to commit further offences."

Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly accused Mr Hain of bowing to the demands of opponents of the peace process, adding: "This will increase tensions in north Belfast in the middle of the marching season. It was a cynical decision."

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