Belfast Telegraph

Enniskillen bomb: Difficult day for bereaved as memorial to 12 victims is unveiled

By Donna Deeney

Three decades after one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles, the people of Enniskillen gathered together to remember their dead.

Relatives of the 12 men and women who died as a result of the no-warning IRA Poppy Day bomb on November 8, 1987 joined those who survived the attack for the unveiling of a memorial.

The poignant tribute, which was unveiled by representatives of the bereaved families, will be put in a permanent position at a later date.

It bears the names of the 12 people who died - Edward Armstrong, Wesley and Bertha Armstrong, Samuel Gault, Kitchener and Jessie Johnston, William and Agnes Mullan, Johnny Megaw, Albertha Quinton, Marie Wilson and Ronnie Hill.

Speaking after the moving ceremony at the town's cenotaph, Stephen Gault, whose father Samuel died in the explosion, said that while he had experienced mixed emotions, it was important that the horrific atrocity would never be forgotten.

He said: "It has to be documented that 12 innocent civilians were murdered at the hands of terrorists.

"Anyone who took part in those murders 30 years ago who is reading about this memorial and sees how raw our pain still is, I would like to ask them if they are proud of themselves and this terrible thing they did in the name of Ireland.

"I hope they take to the grave the guilt they have for the cold-blooded murder of innocent civilians.

"This has been a difficult day, full of mixed emotions. We were there remembering our loved ones brutally murdered on that very spot 30 years ago. I couldn't help but look at my watch as the time approached 10.43am when the bomb detonated and that was difficult, but it was an honour to be there and see the new memorial.

"It is unfortunate there is no home for it as yet which is hard for the families.

"We cannot understand why we cannot have the memorial on the actual site."

Mr Gault told how he was left devastated by the loss of his father. He said: "The past 30 years have been difficult.

"I felt that loss in a very poignant way on the day I got married.

"My dad was my hero. I always wanted to follow in his footsteps and join the RUC and to have lost him at such a young age has been very difficult."

A special message sent by the Queen was read by her representative Viscount Brookeborough. In it, she said: "The unveiling of this memorial is a poignant reminder of a terrible event on Remembrance Sunday 30 years ago.

"I am aware of the irreplaceable loss and profound sadness shared by so many families who lost their loved ones and who were injured.

"I renew my sympathy with you all on this occasion and whilst this memorial will serve as a permanent reminder of the tragic day, it is my hope that by it, the families who suffered will be strengthened in the knowledge that those who lost their lives and the injured are never forgotten." Viscount Brookeborough was among a number of invited guests which included Secretary of State James Brokenshire, representatives from the main political parties with the exception of Sinn Fein, PSNI Chief Constable George Hamilton, and members of the four main churches.

Following the unveiling, a special service was held in the nearby Presbyterian Church where Rev Michael Davidson - minister of Railway Street Presbyterian Church, Lisburn - spoke.

In his address, he paid tribute to the Ely Centre which organised the day's commemorations.

Rev Davidson said: "Some people say that time is a great healer, but I am sure many of you would say with me that is not true in your experience.

"Over the passing of the years you learn to live with what has happened but I don't think time heals wounds such as ours, especially when we have received those wounds in such traumatic circumstances and where we have experienced no justice for the evil perpetrated against us."

Belfast Telegraph

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