Belfast Telegraph

Catholic diocese 'has no objection' to Enniskillen bombing memorial

Senior officials at a Catholic diocese have moved to reassure all members of the community amid a row about the proposed location of a memorial to the 1987 Enniskillen bombing.

Rt Rev Joseph McGuinness, administrator for the Diocese of Clogher, said in a letter that the church had "no objection whatsoever to a permanent memorial being erected to the victims", and that it would carefully consider an application to site it on church land.

His remarks came amid fears that community relations between Protestants and Catholics could be damaged in the town amid an ongoing row over the placement of a memorial for the atrocity.

On the 30th anniversary of the bomb on Wednesday, a temporary memorial was unveiled to the 12 victims.

The bombing killed 11 people outright and left 68 injured, while a 12th victim, Ronnie Hill, died after spending 13 years in a coma

Bereaved families say they have attempted to have the memorial erected permanently at the site of the blast but that the local Catholic diocese owns the land and has not yet given them permission.

However, the St Michael's Diocesan Trust, part of the Diocese of Clogher, said it was only informed of the application in late September.

The site of the bombing is now home to the Clinton Centre built on land owned by the diocesan trust in 2002.

In remarks released in a parish letter on Armistice Day, Mr McGuinness said there had been much "ill-informed" comment on the issue.

He said: "I want to state firmly that the Diocesan Trust has no objection whatsoever to a permanent memorial being erected to the victims of the Enniskillen bombing.

"The creation of a public memorial is both a way of providing solace and comfort to those who grieve, and also a way of drawing the community together in remembrance and solidarity."

Mr McGuinness said: "The Ely Centre, under whose auspices the memorial was created, submitted an application to the Trust to negotiate a lease of a portion of the land at the front of the Clinton Centre with a view to placing the memorial there.

"The hope was expressed that the Trust could come to a quick decision in time for the unveiling of the memorial on 8 November.

"The Diocesan Trust willingly agreed to give the proposal full and careful consideration, but made it very clear that the matter couldn't be resolved in such a short space of time, given the issues which would have to be considered."

He added that the trust was "not trying to be in any way obstructive, but rather has had to begin to address complex issues which have only recently been posed to it".

The Monsignor said that it was also "quite untrue" the diocese had a problem with the use of the poppy symbol, or that it had a hand in removing the temporary memorial - adding that was done by the "organisers".

Concluding, he added: "None of us wish to add in any way to the pain of all who have suffered so dreadfully over the last 30 years.

"Neither should we cease to continue the work of reconciliation and healing in our community in a way that draws people together in genuine and mutual respect."

The day after the bomb attack, loyalist paramilitaries killed a man in Belfast in retaliation for the bombing.

No-one has ever been held to account for the blast.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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