Friday 19 December 2014

Tensions emerge over Kelly arrest

Published 14/02/2013 | 16:46

Sean Kelly received nine life sentences for the Shankill Road bombing in 1993
Sean Kelly received nine life sentences for the Shankill Road bombing in 1993

New tensions have emerged between the First and Deputy First Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive after police questioned a convicted IRA bomber about a so-called punishment shooting.

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuiness clashed over the detention of Sean Kelly, 39, once jailed for life for an attack at a fishmongers shop in Belfast which left 10 people dead.

He was detained by detectives investigating the shooting of an 18-year-old in the city's republican Ardoyne district.

After being in custody for 36 hours, police released Kelly without charge - but by that stage a full scale row had developed between the two sides heading up the power-sharing administration at Stormont.

Mr Robinson claimed Kelly's detention raised potentially grave concerns about the future of the peace process - a claim which Mr McGuinness dismissed as ridiculous.

Hours later Kelly, who had been in custody since early Wednesday morning, was told he was free to go.

It is understood detectives had been granted an extension to keep him in custody for a further period, but then released him after some people made it clear they were not prepared to make witness statements to investigating officers.

The teenager was shot twice in the legs at shops close to his home and at one stage was dangerously ill after one of the bullets severed his femoral artery.

Another damaged his bladder. His hospital condition was described as "stable".

It is understood police have ruled out any involvement by dissident republicans opposed to the peace process.

Press Association

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