Charles meets for­mer IRA bomber

Coventry Telegraph - - NATIONAL -

THE Prince of Wales has shaken hands with for­mer IRA bomber and Sinn Fein Stor­mont As­sem­bly mem­ber Gerry Kelly dur­ing a visit to Belfast.

Mr Kelly es­caped from North­ern Ireland’s high­se­cu­rity Maze Prison in 1983 while serv­ing a jail sen­tence for the 1973 bomb­ing of the Old Bai­ley. He be­came a se­nior repub­li­can ne­go­tia­tor ahead of the 1998 Good Fri­day Agree­ment and has embraced the peace process for decades, serv­ing as a min­is­ter in the pow­er­shar­ing ex­ec­u­tive.

Mr Kelly said: “This is about out­reach and it was a de­lib­er­ate act to come down.

“No bet­ter place to do it than north Belfast, a very mixed area of­ten de­scribed as a mi­cro­cosm of the dif­fi­cul­ties or char­ac­ter­is­tics of the whole of the north.

“It is a patch­work quilt of com­mu­ni­ties.”

North Belfast was the scene of mul­ti­ple sec­tar­ian killings dur­ing the 30-year con­flict and part of it was once dubbed “mur­der mile”.

Charles be­gan a two-day trip to North­ern Ireland yes­ter­day.

He has pre­vi­ously met for­mer Sinn Fein pres­i­dent Gerry Adams, of­fer­ing con­do­lences on the death of ex-Stor­mont deputy first min­is­ter Martin McGuin­ness.

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