A man who lost his wife and father-in-law in an infamous IRA bombing in 1993 has met with Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and accepted his apology for the bombing of a fish and chip shop in the Shankill Road in Belfast.

The two men met as part of an religious program about reconciliation on TV's Channel 4.  Ten people were killed in the bombing

Alan MacBride, who lost his wife Sharon and her father, John Frizell, in the horrific bombing, said he was very nervous before meeting the Sinn Féin leader directly

"I was very nervous. Gerry Adams came in, and he was quite respectful. He started off by apologizing for the Shankill Bomb and by acknowledging my hurt and my pain," continued Mr. McBride.

“I do think he is a man who has made a contribution to the peace process," he continued.

"So there is a respect there, but that doesn't justify it at all.

"For me, while I think we have to address the past, you don't make peace with your friends, you make peace with your enemies.”

McBride is now a prominent spokesperson for the victims of Northern Ireland's Troubles.

He stated that his meeting with Adams was not something he "took lightly," but "a natural step in my own journey."

"It was something I thought about and reflected over," he said.

"If people can remember back to my story, I had a very public campaign aimed against Gerry Adams in the couple of years after Sharon was killed.

"Initially for me, after the Shankill bomb, I wrote to Gerry Adams several times, and one of those times he wrote back to say he believed it was wrong.

"But then he went on to say that I had to understand that Sinn Féin were working hard for peace and reconciliation.  

“At the time I wasn't in a place to accept that I wanted someone to acknowledge my hurt, and this week I think he did that.

 "That doesn't mean to say that everything the IRA has done is okay, and everything that Gerry Adams has been involved in is okay. It's quite clearly not with me.

"All the stuff I have done, none of it has been easy and I have attracted a huge amount of criticism, particularly from within my own community. But all I've ever tried to do is be a voice of reason.

"I don't expect others to understand where I'm coming from. It's a very personal thing for me and I don't expect others to do it."

Adams later carried the coffin of the Shankill bomber Thomas Begley, a move that earned him negative press worldwide.

McBride says he now understands why Adams did it,

"Looking back as a much older guy, the question is why should I have been shocked?

"He was Gerry Adams, he was the leader of Sinn Féin, he was a republican, and he had been seen at the funerals of other republicans.

"I don't know that by carrying the coffin of the Shankill bomber that day Gerry Adams was necessarily saying he supported the Shankill bomb. I think he was trying to show solidarity to a woman who had lost her son," said Mr. McBride.

"I believe that Gerry Adams is a man who has changed. This country of ours is not where it was, and I know there are people who would like to drag us back there and keep us locked in the past.

"That doesn't mean we forget about the pain and the hurt.

"Somehow, within us all, we need to find whatever it takes to help us to move that little bit forward towards peace and towards normality."

 

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