Belfast Telegraph

Enniskillen Poppy Day bomb relatives 'deeply hurt' at Catholic church memorial refusal

By Michael Sheils McNamee

Relatives of the victims of the Enniskillen Poppy Day bomb have spoken of their disappointment at the decision by the local diocese to reject a permanent memorial on its land.

Speaking on Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme, survivor Stephen Gault - who lost his father in the attack - said the victims' families were "deeply hurt" by the decision St Michael's Diocesan Trust. 

Appearing alongside Margaret Veitch, a call was made for Archbishop of Armagh, the head of the Catholic church in Ireland, to intervene on behalf of the victims' families.

In November 2017, a monument to the 12 people killed and 68 injured in the attack was removed hours after being placed in a location near to where the bomb went off thirty years before in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

The memorial to the victims had been placed on a site owned by St Michael's Diocesan Trust, which said at the time it had not been consulted by the council on the decision to erect the monument, and which last week issued a statement outlining considerations around public access, maintenance of the monument and ongoing public works in Enniskillen.

The monument was taken down and is currently being kept in storage.

"The family are hurting immensely over this. This is a tribute to our loved ones who were brutally murdered at the hands of terrorists thirty years ago," said Mr Gault.

"To say we’re upset is really an understatement."

He also said he found it hard to believe the church had been surprised at the dimensions of the memorial after its unveiling, as details of it had been included in the planning document.

Speaking on the programme, Margaret Veitch - whose parents were killed in the attack - said they had requested meetings with representatives from the church, including parish priest Monsignor Peter O'Reilly and diocesan administrator Monsignor Joseph McGuinness.

Asked about planning considerations around the size of the memorial, and the possibility of coming to a compromise, she said: "I would like a face-to-face meeting and maybe we could come to some compromise. But we can’t change the wording on the memorial because we were only telling the truth.

"How can you put 12 names on a smaller memorial?"

The Catholic Communications Office has been contacted for comment.

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