Enniskillen remembered 25 years on

Published Wednesday, 07 November 2012
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The town of Enniskillen was thrust into news headlines around the world, 25 years ago on Thursday, after what became known as the Poppy Day Bomb.

Enniskillen remembered 25 years on
The war memorial in Enniskillen two days after the 1987 bomb. (© PA)

The IRA attacked the War Memorial in the Co Fermanagh town, killing 11 people, and injuring over 60 others on Remembrance Sunday, 8 November 1987 at 10.43am.

A twelfth victim, Ronnie Hill, died in 2000.

The atrocity provoked outrage around the world after innocent people were murdered while remembering the war dead.

The Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher described it as a desecration - a blot on mankind.

UTV Live Tonight presenter Paul Clark covered the story at the time.

"It's hard to believe that that was a quarter of a century ago," he recalled.

I spent the whole of the following week in Enniskillen, covering funerals, reporting on the aftermath - and watching as this town tried to make sense of a crime, which has been described as a turning point in the Troubles.

UTV’s Paul Clark

The morning of the attack, Sam Foster was in the town centre, talking to friends and acquaintances.

As he waited for the parade, the peace and quiet of that sombre Sunday was shattered.

Pictures of Sam digging people from the rubble were beamed around the world and became iconic images of the atrocity.

"I heard this rumble, a big roll, there was a bang.

"I thought what the hell has happened," he recalled.

He said there was a strange silence which was followed by "screaming, shouting, crying, squealing, glass breaking, debris falling."

"It was like looking into a smoke filled room."

Following the Cenotaph ceremony, the parade was due to make its way to St. Macartin's Cathedral for a Remembrance Service.

The preacher was the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh, Robin Eames. It was a sermon he would not deliver.

The cleric told UTV: "I'll never forget the dedication of the staff in the Erne Hospital - the magnificent work they did."

Although church organist Jim Dixon survived, a quarter of a century on, he still carries the mental and physical scars of the day.

"Justice delayed is justice denied. We are denied justice. Every anniversary police come out and say 'We've got some new information.' That's all we ever hear 'til the next year."

No-one has ever been convicted over the attack, but now there is hope a fresh inquiry can be launched.

On Sunday, a statement from the PSNI said: "The Historical Enquiries Team has concluded its work on the deaths which were caused at the Enniskillen Cenotaph bombing in 1987.

"Staff have updated families on the HET work and will formally hand over to PSNI's Serious Crime Branch who will assess the potential for further work to be progressed."

© UTV News
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11 Comments
WTF in Ards wrote (770 days ago):
As usual our republican contributors can't just condemn this horrific attack but instead turn it into a SF party political broadcast.....top prize goes to JimmyMac in Canada, the most bitter man in the world (apart from our resident IRA apologist and world's number 1 expert on parades, Ryan from Belfast, who unfortunately came second this week).
Ryan in Belfast wrote (770 days ago):
@Me in Larne. I wouldnt bother studying geography, especially when it comes to Maps. The Maps of the world/countries are very different today than what they were 50 years ago and i can assure you that maps need changing every few years. Maps are always changing and im very confident in 50 years time the future maps will show a different political landscape on the island of ireland. But all a map is is a map lol when i look at ireland, i see 32 counties and one country, simple.
me in larne wrote (770 days ago):
ryan i think before you spout off about history i think you need to study geography !!!! Maybe if you google northern ireland you will see it is a country or maybe you are smarter than the computer !!!!
Ryan in Belfast wrote (771 days ago):
@Iain in belfast. Iain, half the population of the 6 counties would disagree with you there, to us its the North of Ireland or the 6 counties. Iain, you have to forget about the orange statelet of the 1960's, its over and gone now, everyone, Irish Nationalist and British Unionist has an equal say and equal rights, so we can call our home anything we like and choose to be either an IRISH citizen or a british one.
Iain in Belfast wrote (771 days ago):
Jimmymac its called Northern Ireland not the north of Ireland, you poor bitter soul. Mcguniness and noble used in the same sentence? Don't give up the day job because your attempt at comedy stinks!
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