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Bomb victims picture row protest

By Matthew McCreary

Controversy over the removal of a montage of victims of the Enniskillen bombing from a fire station wall is continuing as survivors and relatives of those killed in the blast mount a protest.

The demonstration will be held tomorrow night outside Enniskillen fire station, where earlier this week it was revealed that a photographic montage of the victims of the 1987 atrocity was taken down over fears that it might breach equality guidelines.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said that the removal of the picture was "to maintain an inclusive, neutral and harmonious working environment for all".

The move has sparked outrage among many people in the town, with a relative of one of those killed saying she was "greatly saddened" by the episode.

Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA Tom Elliott said that the planned protest showed there was still "a lot of unease" in Enniskillen about the matter.

"Two years ago the same thing happened with the ambulance service," he said.

"I suppose people thought we'd moved on. People are saying they never thought a photo like this would have caused any difficulty and certainly not now when there's supposedly a working together of the communities in the political field.

"There's almost a sense of disbelief.

"I've been asking what is offensive about it? I just cannot see what there is that's supposed to be wrong.

"The basis of the photograph was a memory for the people in the fire service who actually worked on the day, who reacted to the bomb and were on-site and helped."

Joan Wilson, whose 20-year-old daughter Marie was among the 11 people killed in the bombing, said she was very upset about the incident.

"I was greatly saddened by it, especially coming up to this 20th anniversary," she said.

"We're all thinking back to this time 20 years ago when we had our loved ones with us and we were enjoying their company. Now for this to happen, it just made me very sad and downhearted."

The montage is understood to have been on display at the station for almost 20 years.

It has been reported that the picture was bought for £10 following a unanimous agreement between firefighters at the station at that time.

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