The Shankill Bombing Leak: Cui Bono?

So, who leaked the Shankill bombing story to The Irish News, and more to the point, why?

The story claims that the RUC Special Branch was fully aware of the plan by the North Belfast IRA in October, 1993 to wipe out the leadership of the Ulster Defence Association as they met in their offices above Frizzel’s fishmongers shop on the Shankill Road, but did nothing to stop the attack.

The result was enormous loss of civilan life – the UDA leaders were not in situ when the bomb exploded – and a crisis in the peace process whose overall effect, by ratcheting up reprisal killings by Loyalists, was to strengthen pressure on the IRA and its political leadership to bring a halt to violence.

The story can be read here:

The obvious motive of the Special Branch, in unison with other branches of British intelligence, was to manipulate the IRA, via agents it controlled in its ranks, towards acceptance of a peace process which, at the time, was regarded sceptically by key elements in the organisation, not least in the Belfast Brigade, although embraced enthusiastically by political leaders such as Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

The Irish News story claims that its information came from Special Branch documents stolen by the IRA from the Branch’s Castlereagh offices in 2002, a raid supposedly inspired by a former New York-based bar chef called Larry Zaitchek, who now runs a restaurant in Drogheda but who had secured a job in the RUC station in order to facilitate the raid.

But, t is widely believed that the real brains behind the raid was the then IRA intelligence chief Bobby Storey, who has a number of intelligence coups to his credit, at least allegedly, including the running of an intelligence ring at Stormont, the Northern Bank robbery and the bombing of the British Army’s HQ at Thiepval barracks, Lisburn.

However Storey is a loyal acolyte of the SF President Gerry Adams and it is inconceivable that if Storey is the leaker – which circumstances strongly suggest he probably is – he could or would have acted without the permission or indeed the instructions of the Provo leadership.

So, the most intriguing question is this: as the general election machinery gears up in the South what do Adams & Co. have to gain by making all this public? We will doubtless know soon enough.

A secondary consideration: perhaps Mr Adams and his colleagues should be careful what they wish for…..After all, a full discussion of what British agents did or did not do to advance the interests of the peace process might produce less than welcome results.

6 responses to “The Shankill Bombing Leak: Cui Bono?

  1. The office in question was above the shop next door I think, a greengrocers, and was used by the UDA for their loans business. Therefore, any UDA men the IRA might have targeted there would not have been leadership. It had been disused for a couple of years. The security forces would have known that, even if the IRA did not.

    • i was in that building on journalistic business more than once and some of the top UDA men, like Tommy Lyttle, had offices at the top of the building. Other senior UDA figures from around the city could be seen there from time to time, and the idea that meetings of the sort the IRA targeted were held there would not, in my mind, be a stretch…….

  2. Pingback: The Shankill Bombing Leak: Cui Bono? | seftonblog

  3. Pingback: The Shankill Bomb Scandal – Some Thoughts On Media Coverage | The Broken Elbow

  4. Who benefits from this story being leaked? Well, a theory occurred to me today, and I’ve no idea how it will be received, or even how much stock I put in it myself, but I think it’s worth sharing.

    Recently Slab Murphy was convicted of tax evasion. I know that it was in a Southern court, but is it too far fetched to consider that these revelations are a warning to the UK Govt not to pry too deeply into the lives of PIRA personnel of similar standing in the North? Essentially, you shine a light on us and we will do the same to you?

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