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OTR letters ruined any chance of justice, says Enniskillen bomb survivor

Stephen Gault Enniskillen

Stephen Gault

ENNISKILLEN bomb survivor, Stephen Gault, whose father Samuel died beside him in the 1987 Remembrance Day atrocity, has told the Shadow Secretary of State that letters issued to republican on-the-runs have ‘ruined’ the judicial process for victims.

In a closed meeting between Mr Gault, his wife Sharon, Labour MP Ivan Lewis and Fermanagh UUP councillor Raymond Farrell, the bomb survivor explained that two republicans who were suspected of being in connection with the Poppy Day bombing were sent letters which gave assurances they were not being sought by police.

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Mr Gault believes these letters prevents families from seeking justice adding that the “lies from the government” doesn’t instil confidence in his long-running campaign to find those responsible for the Enniskillen bomb.

“I know two individuals that were linked to the Enniskillen bomb and were recently named in the House of Commons, received these letters of assurances,” the 44-year-old said.

“The thing is we don’t know who to believe after the lies that have come out over the few weeks.

“I don’t think we will get justice now after these OTR (on-the-run) letters have been sent out as it has scuppered any chance of getting justice.

“Ivan was very sympathetic and that came across very powerfully, he showed great concern for our injustice and is keen to push the investigations further along.

“Ivan disagreed with the letters and said that if any new evidence comes forward then the letters are worthless.

“We want to get some answers and are still waiting nine years after the HET (Historical Enquiries Team) investigation was launched.”

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Following the private meeting last Wednesday, the Westminster MP was taken to the cenotaph, close to where the IRA bomb exploded killing 12 people, including Mr Gault’s father Samuel.

The Labour man has pledged his support in furthering the current HET investigation into the bombing which was launched in 2005, however victim’s families are still awaiting the report into its findings.

Mr Farrell stated that the physical and emotional impact on families from the continuing delay was discussed.

“We never seem to get any closure for our hurt and loss,” Mr Farrell added.

“We were deeply hurt and disappointed all this was going on with Tony Blair while the letters were sent out. It was all kept in the dark, despite Peter Robinson and Lady Sylvia Hermon asking if anything was going on and they were repeatedly told nothing was happening.

“It leaves a total distrust in politics and politicians.

“Ivan wanted to reassure us that if new evidence comes to light then the people who were issued with letters is still culpable and still answerable.”

Speaking after the meeting Mr Lewis said: “27 years after the devastation caused by an IRA bomb, it is shocking that they, other victims’ families and the wider Enniskillen community have had neither truth nor justice.

“I will be contacting the PSNI for an urgent update on the progress of their current investigation, and expect them to provide the families affected with regular updates.”


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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA