Enniskillen: ‘I am still in shock about the lauding of Martin McGuinness’

Aileen Quinton's mother Alberta was killed by the 1987 IRA bomb in Enniskillen. 
Picture: Brian Little/Presseye
Aileen Quinton's mother Alberta was killed by the 1987 IRA bomb in Enniskillen. Picture: Brian Little/Presseye

War veteran and retired nurse Alberta Quinton never missed a Remembrance Day memorial service.

The 72-year-old widow had spent a lifetime caring for the sick and injured – seeing World War Two service as a member of the WRAF in Italy, Yugoslavia and North Africa – and her brutal murder was in stark contrast to her life of compassion for others.

Alberta Quinton, mother of Aileen Quinton, in her RAF days. From Aileen's Facebook page

Alberta Quinton, mother of Aileen Quinton, in her RAF days. From Aileen's Facebook page

For her daughter Aileen Quinton, the sense of grief has been heightened in recent years by attempts to laud former IRA leaders as “statesmen”.

“People talk about re-writing the past. Nothing could have re-written the past as much as Martin McGuinness being re-written as a statesman by unionist leaders going to his funeral,” she said.

“He was an evil man, but the fact that officialdom found that tolerable – that is a disgrace.

“I am still in shock about that.”

It would have been a completely different if he had renounced terrorism, and the IRA, but he remained proud of it

Ms Quinton added: “It would have been a completely different matter from my perspective if he had actually renounced his terrorism, and denounced the IRA, but he remained proud of it.

“How can that just be swept aside in the way it was?

“I think even in those circumstances (after repentance) it would needed to have been more sensitively handled than it was...I don’t see how you can get any more ludicrous.”

Ms Quinton said she would not consider attending the official Remembrance service in Enniskillen on Wednesday.

“There will be a significant overlap between the attendees at that and those who went to the funeral of Martin McGuinness... and that would be hard to stomach.

“SEFF (South East Fermanagh Foundation) will being doing something that will be victims’ centred, so if I’m up to it I will try to go to that event.”

Ms Quinton also said it would bring some comfort to the Enniskillen victims to know that the “principles of law and order were being upheld” through an unrelenting pursuit of the perpetrators.

“We say to people ‘don’t take the law into your own hands,’ but that is predicated on the principle that the law is in somebody’s hands, not that it’s being ignored,” she said.

“It is a very difficult situation when the law is not even pursuing the IRA members responsible.”

Ms Quinton added: “There is a difference in terms of not being able to get justice because it just didn’t turn out to be possible, and because officialdom has actually conspired to make it not possible.”