Varadkar to attend Enniskillen bomb anniversary service
The Taoiseach is to take part in a Remembrance Day wreath-laying ceremony in Co Fermanagh, it has been confirmed.
Following in the footsteps of his predecessor Enda Kenny, Leo Varadkar will make the trip to Enniskillen for Remembrance Sunday this weekend.
Mr Kenny, who took part in every ceremony since 2012, always laid a green laurel wreath alongside the many red poppies at the town's war memorial.
A spokesman for the Taoiseach's office confirmed Mr Varadkar will attend Sunday's event.
This year will mark the 30th anniversary of the Enniskillen Poppy Day massacre.
A poignant service will remember the 11 people killed and dozens injured in the IRA bomb. A 12th victim died 13 years later, having never woken from a coma.
DUP leader Arlene Foster is expected to lay a wreath at the cenotaph close to where the bomb exploded on November 8, 1987.
Hundreds of people attend the annual service, including the families of those killed and injured in the explosion.
Royal British Legion (RBL) chairman John Jones said: "The Royal British Legion thoroughly welcomes Mr Varadkar to the annual remembrance day parade. It's great that he has taken over from Enda and it can only be good for the town.
"We are doing the normal Remembrance Day parade that's held in any town except that it's the 30th anniversary of the Poppy Day bomb. There is a separate mark of remembrance on Wednesday 8th and the RBL were invited and we will attend."
Other senior political representatives are expected to take part in the Remembrance Day events.
Kenny Donaldson, director of victims' rights group South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF), said that the families of the deceased and injured "won't be forgotten".
The victims' group supports a number of the bereaved families and those who were injured in the atrocity. Mr Donaldson said: "As we approach the 30th anniversary of the Enniskillen bomb and wider society refreshes its interest, there is a need for particular understanding to be shown to those directly impacted by the events of that day - the bereaved and those physically and psychologically traumatised.
"And we also remember the Lambert family who had 19-year-old Adam murdered in a retaliatory action the day after the Enniskillen Poppy Day massacre by loyalist terrorists and in a supposed case of mistaken identity.
"The resilience and dignity of the Enniskillen families has been a constant over three decades but has the behaviour of others towards them been as honourable?"
Mr Donaldson continued, accusing: "Or what about the criminal justice system inclusive of the police who have failed the families via a catalogue of mistruths which has left many feeling despondent and deeply hurt.
"And then there are others who surely need to look long and hard at themselves in the run-up to this substantive anniversary.
"Have they behaved honourably in best ensuring that the dignity of the innocents impacted by the horrors of that day is best acknowledged, or have they hid behind the curtain of process and bureaucracy as a means not to do the right thing by those who actual ly should be the focus of their concern?"