Sean Kelly returned to jail
Sean Kelly returned to jail

A prominent IRA Volunteer was re-arrested and returned to prison today in a move that could herald a further weakening of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Sean Kelly, who was jailed for the attempted bombing of a group of unionist paramilitary leaders in 1993, had his early release licence suspended today by British Direct Ruler Peter Hain.

In the attack on the Shankill Road, the bomb used to target the UDA leadership denoted prematurely, in still unexplained circumstances. Nine innocent civilians and his comrade, IRA volunteer Thomas Begley, died.

Mr Kelly was released along with other IRA prisoners in July 2000 under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Hain said he acted today after he was “satisfied that Sean Kelly has become re-involved in terrorism and is a danger to others and while he is at liberty”.

No other details or allegations were made available to the public.

Mr Hain also warned that he would not hesitate to suspend the licence of other prisoners who got early release scheme under the Good-Friday Agreement if they presented “a risk to the safety of others”.

“My priority is public safety and the interests of the whole community and I cannot permit freedom to an individual intent on abusing the opportunity they have been given to benefit from the early release scheme,” he said.

“I am satisfied that this particular individual has breached the terms of his licence and that it is appropriate for me to suspend his licence.”

The prison Sentence Review Commissioners will now consider Mr Kelly’s case and decide whether to revoke his licence.

Hardline unionists have previously claimed he was orchestrating nationalist riots.

There was some speculation that the action against Kelly was an attempt by the British government to blame republicans for last night’s violence in Ardoyne.

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2005 Irish Republican News