‘Try to forgive, but never forget’, Shankill bombing anniversary event told

Nine people, including two young girls, were killed in an IRA bomb attack on a fish shop in Belfast in 1993.

Rebecca Black
Saturday 21 October 2023 14:50 BST
The site of Frizzell’s fish shop on Shankill Road (Liam McBurney/PA)
The site of Frizzell’s fish shop on Shankill Road (Liam McBurney/PA) (PA Archive)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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A gathering to mark the 30th anniversary of a bombing that devastated Belfast’s Shankill Road has been told, “try to forgive but never forget”.

Nine people, including two young girls, were killed in the bombing of Frizzell’s fish shop on October 23 1993, while dozens were injured.

One of the IRA bombers was also killed in the blast.

The victims were the fish shop owner, John Frizzell, 63, his daughter Sharon McBride, 29, Michael Morrison, 27, his partner Evelyn Baird, 27, their daughter, Michelle, seven, George Williamson, 63, Gillian Williamson, 49, Wilma McKee, 38, and Leanne Murray, 13.

There was further devastation a week later when eight people were killed by loyalists in Greysteel, Co Londonderry, in what was regarded as a retaliatory attack.

On Saturday morning crowds took part in a short procession along the Shankill Road to the site of the bombing.

Wreaths were laid and a minute of silence was observed.

Former DUP North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds, his wife Diane Dodds and MLA Brian Kingston were among those who attended.

Canon Tracy McRoberts read out the names of the victims, telling those gathered: “It is right that we remember this event, and honour those who lost their lives that day on the Shankill.

We remember days like today because the hope is that we can work to make this world a better place so that such horrible loss of life doesn't ever happen in this sort of way again

Canon Tracy McRoberts

“There is hardly a person from the area who was alive at the time who doesn’t have a story to tell about the day; whether they were two or 52 at the time, it seems everyone remembers where they were, and where their friends and family were at the time the bomb exploded.

“And if they didn’t know someone who was killed or injured, they felt it was only by the grace of God, it could so easily have been anyone who was caught in the bomb on that unseasonably warm and sunny day in October.

“We remember days like today because the hope is that we can work to make this world a better place so that such horrible loss of life doesn’t ever happen in this sort of way again.

“But peace does take work, hard work, it isn’t easy. It’s about reaching out to others, even those you don’t like, to find ways to look forward as to how we can make a better future together.”

The event was organised on behalf of the Michael “Minnie” Morrison Foundation, which supports local children through sport and included members of children’s and youth football teams.

Freddie Black, who played with Albert Foundry FC alongside Mr Morrison, recalled a “horrendous day almost 30 years ago” and thanked emergency services and volunteers for their work at the scene.

I hope on this anniversary there is a united voice condemning such a merciless act and calling for a violence-free future for the generations to come

Freddie Black

“I had the fortunate experience of knowing Michael “Minnie” Morrison as a friend and a team-mate at Albert Foundry,” he said.

“Minnie was a lively and happy young man with a beautiful partner Evelyn and children Michelle, Darren and Lauren.”

He described the nine killed as “victims of an obscene and cowardly act”.

“Sadly the Shankill suffered once again as a result of evil IRA violence and total disregard for humanity.

“I hope on this anniversary there is a united voice condemning such a merciless act and calling for a violence-free future for the generations to come.

“Forgive, or try to forgive, but never forget. Evil terrorists don’t win; survivors, relatives and friends ensure that love and memories triumph over the wickedness.”

A church service is to be held on Monday to mark the date of the bombing.

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