SOME family members of those killed in the 1987 Poppy Day bombing say they feel let down by both Catholic and Protestant church leaders in Enniskillen after a proposed memorial to the 12 victims was rejected.
The memorial, unveiled on November 8th last to mark the 30th anniversary of the Enniskillen bomb, has been housed in “a temporary secure location” until its permanent home is determined.
The proposal had been to place it at the Clinton Centre on land held by St Michael’s Diocesan Trust, which said at the time it had not been consulted by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on the decision to erect the monument.
Six months on, the Trust last week issued a statement outlining considerations around public access, maintenance of the monument and ongoing public works in Enniskillen.
A spokesman said: “The sheer size of the memorial, taken together with the high volume of footfall on the public footpath in front of the Clinton Centre, and the connected issues of access to the school at the side and rear of the building, would make the proposed location unsuitable from the point of view of the health and safety of the public.”
Parish Priest Monsignor Peter O’Reilly, has said the Trust is open to other proposals however an appeal has since been made for Archbishop Eamon Martin to intervene.
Stephen Gault, whose father Samuel was among the victims, told the Herald: “This is not about religion or causing division in our community. It’s simply about doing the right thing in supporting the bereaved families. I’m so disappointed with our local elected representatives and our own Protestant church leaders who cannot back us.
“They were all proud to stand with the families at the 30th anniversary but where are they now when we need them most? Their silence is deafening.”
Margaret Veitch, whose parents William and Agnes Mullan were killed, has called for support from faith leaders on both sides of the community.
“They have destroyed my faith in my fellow townspeople. A postage stamp wouldn’t hold the 12 names – that’s why the memorial is as big as it needed to be.”
Stella Robinson, who also lost her parents Bertha and Wesley Armstrong, added: “I feel rotten and so let down by the whole thing. The churches could have been helping us in this hour of need and we will have to keep praying for an answer to this.”
DUP leader Arlene Foster said yesterday that there had been a “breakdown in communication” between the parties involved. The local MLA said “face-to-face” dialogue between the parties involved, including the church and the victims’ families, needed to take place.
Posted: 12:58 pm May 9, 2018