Taoiseach to meet Fermanagh IRA victims

Published Tuesday, 16 October 2012
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A group of IRA victims from the border area of Fermanagh have met with the Taoiseach in Dublin to ask for an apology for the Irish government's inaction in tackling republican terrorism.

Taoiseach to meet Fermanagh IRA victims
Taoiseach Enda Kenny will meet with the relatives on Tuesday. (© Getty)

The delegation, led by DUP Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA Arlene Foster, included family representatives whose loved ones were killed by the IRA and others who were forced to leave their border homesteads.

Included within the delegation were George Latimer, whose brother and father-in-law were both murdered by PIRA; Maureen North, whose son was used as a human bomb to target Newtownbutler police station and Ernie Wilson, who was the driver of a school bus targeted with an IRA bomb- Arlene Foster was one of the school children aboard.

Commenting before the meeting Mrs Foster said: "It is a privilege to lead this group of victims to tell their story in Dublin. Their stories are not only harrowing but they highlight the lack of adequate security provision on the Republic of Ireland side of the border during the troubles.

"These were attacks often planned from within the Republic of Ireland by people from the Republic, and returning there afterwards meant the terrorists were provided an effective 'safe haven'."

These victims are not asking Mr Kenny to apologise for the actions of the IRA, but for those of the Irish Government who not only failed to put the necessary security measures in place to prevent attacks, but who refused to extradite terrorist suspects back to the United Kingdom to face justice.

Arlene Foster

The Enterprise Minister added: "The spotlight has rightly been turned onto the actions of the Irish Government during the troubles and I would hope that Mr Kenny will be as forthright in giving answers as he has been in demanding them from the United Kingdom in many instances."

The families are part of the Lisnaskea-based Victims group South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF).

The group said they would press the Irish government for formal acknowledgment that it "failed to protect life within border communities."

Across Co Fermanagh, 112 people were killed, in South East Fermanagh, 11 of these people were killed at Lisnaskea, 14 killed at Rosslea, 13 in Newtownbutler, three in Maguiresbridge and one in Brookeborough, according to the victims group.

Director of Services of the victims group, Kenny Donaldson said the attacks provoked an exodus of Protestant farmers from the border area.

Mr Donaldson said: "There is a deep sense of hurt and injustice prevalent within Protestant communities throughout Co Fermanagh.

He added: "The Taoiseach has an opportunity to do right by those families that our organisation represents and indeed all others across Northern Ireland who were affected as a consequence of there not being 'sufficiently robust policies in the Republic of Ireland' to not only pursue but also bring to justice, terrorists. Had there been previously, how many lives could have been spared?"

Last month Enda Kenny met with victims of the 1976 Kingsmills massacre in Co Armagh, where he listened to the families' accounts of the tragedy.

But he did not go as far as apologising, he said that the IRA was "the common enemy of all of the people of Ireland, of all traditions, north and south, and that their campaign of violence was strongly resisted by successive Irish governments."

© UTV News
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12 Comments
Hooper in Twinbrook wrote (545 days ago):
"In all sincerity, we offer to the loved ones of all innocent victims over the past twenty years, abject and true remorse" Yeah WTF? I wonder what the loyalists considered 'legitimate targets'?
WTF in Ards wrote (545 days ago):
@ Hooper. Therein lies the problem....the IRA issued an apology to 'innocent' victims.....but be honest here, their 'legitimate targets' basically included the Protestant community of Northern Ireland, the RUC, UDR, British Army, council Workers, census workers, food suppliers, milkmen, builders, newsagents, need I go on? At least Loyalist paramilitaries apologised for all their disgraceful acts.
Iain in Belfast wrote (546 days ago):
Oh Ryan give over! Rather that deal with the story you constantly moan about something else. I assume as you completely ignore the issue at hand, you fully support the actions of the ira? The truth? Let me guess, some anti-unionist rant by any chance?
Hooper in Twinbrook wrote (547 days ago):
Isn't it strange how ex - pat can remember the Kingsmills massacre in 1976 yet the killing of three of the Reavey family and three of the O'Dowd family the night before Kingsmills seems to have slipped his memory? Likewise with Mick in Bangor remembering an apology by Gusty Spence on behalf on loyalism and the British Government for Bloody Sunday but the IRA apology in 2002 to all innocent victims seems also to be forgotten? With all these apologies I wonder who's going to apologise for Brian Nelson and the South African arms shipment that he organised which was split three ways between the UDA, UVF & Ulster Resistance? Y'know, the arms shipment that meant that loyalists were eventually able to outnumber Republicans in terms of dead bodies? Selective memories indeed. Peter is right, this is less about an apology and all about financial compensation. Just wait and see.
Steve in Belfast wrote (547 days ago):
I think it would be a positive step if the Repuplic started acknowledging the negative aspects of its involvement in Northern Ireland. Long overdue, but it's not a time for Kenny to drag his heels. And for the Nationalist posters with their endless sectarian whataboutery: Please at least try to wise up.
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