Belfast Telegraph

Son of bomb victim 'hurt' by removal of Enniskillen memorial

Catholic church that owns site says it wasn't consulted

By Donna Deeney

A man whose father was among those killed in the Poppy Day massacre in Enniskillen says he feels hurt he has to pass memorials to IRA men every day but the monument to the victims of Enniskillen cannot be placed near the site of the atrocity.

The new memorial was unveiled at a special ceremony to mark the 30th anniversary on Tuesday, but was removed when the event was over.

The proposed permanent site is just six feet away from where the IRA no warning bomb exploded, killing 11 people and injuring dozens more. A 12th person died from his injuries later.

However, while Fermanagh and Omagh Council approved planning permission for the memorial near the Clinton Centre, the Catholic church that owns the land said it was not consulted about the application.

Stephen Gault, whose father Samuel was killed in the blast, said he felt retraumatised by the move.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Gault said: "It was so emotional to be part of the unveiling ceremony on Wednesday and I was proud to be there, but what hurt me and the other bereaved families was seeing the memorial being placed on to the back of a lorry and taken away.

"The council gave planning approval for the memorial to be placed near the Clinton Centre, which is close to where our innocent loved ones lost their lives to the IRA terrorists, but the Catholic Church won't allow it. Where I live in Fermanagh I have to pass at least seven memorials to IRA men erected along the road and yet we have a memorial to the innocent people who were murdered by the IRA that we are not allowed to place."

Mr Gault (right) said on Sunday he will lay his wreath at the Cenotaph because "there is no where else for me to place it".

"We thought that this year on the 30th anniversary we would have had a separate place to lay the wreaths in remembrance of my dad but that isn't the case. I feel hurt, retraumatised and disrespected by the Catholic Church who have shown nothing but hypocrisy by attending the unveiling ceremony and yet they cannot see fit to allow us to place a memorial to our loved ones brutally murdered at the hands of the IRA."

A spokesman for St Michael's Diocesan Trust, which owns the site, said: "The trust wishes to place on record that, as owner of the property concerned, it was not consulted by the council in relation to the granting of planning permission.

"Nonetheless, the trust is giving careful consideration to all aspects of the request and has yet to come to any decision. There has been engagement between representatives of St Michael's Diocesan Trust and the Ely Centre and we look forward to the continuation of that in the future. We are all sensitive to the grief being experienced during these days by the relatives of those who died and were injured in the Enniskillen Remembrance Sunday bomb.

"All of us recognise the place of remembrance in life and the importance of how memorials can help us to come to terms with loss. In the context of the present memorial which was unveiled, it is important to note that St Michael's Diocesan Trust received initial documentation from the Ely Centre in late September 2017 requesting that the memorial be placed at the entrance to the Clinton Centre, which is located on property owned by the Diocesan Trust."

Fermanagh and Omagh Council said it didn't consult landowners on planning applications.

Belfast Telegraph

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