The wounds from Enniskillen have not entirely healed

Morning View
Morning View

The Enniskillen bomb happened thirty years ago today.

It was an unspeakable massacre not only of civilians, but civilians at a Remembrance service to commemorate those who gave their lives in the service of their country.

No-one has ever been held accountable for the atrocity, which murdered 12 people (one of whom spent more than a decade in a coma before he died).

As we report today, there was a 13th victim, Adam Lambert, murdered in a retaliatory attack.

It is often said that the Enniskillen attack hastened the IRA ceasefire, because of the revulsion even within some republican circles. But it took seven years before that ceasefire came about, and then when Sinn Fein thought it wasn’t getting the progress that it deserved, the IRA returned to murder and mayhem – targeting the London Docklands in 1996.

There has been significant reconciliation work done as a result of the Enniskillen bomb, as there has been as a result of the Omagh massacre more than a decade later.

But it is important not to overstate that element of the story or to talk in terms of Enniskillen as if it was some great tragedy that befell the town almost akin to a natural disaster.

These were brutal attacks carried out on civilians on a large scale, and followed in a tradition of many such terrorist massacres during the Troubles.

In the years before Enniskillen there was a heritage in Fermanagh of sectarian attacks against Protestants, to which there was barely any retaliation.

That restraint said much about the bravery and dignity of that isolated community, as was so apparent after Enniskillen.

There is little prospect of justice for the 1987 massacre and that is one reason why the wounds of its aftermath are not entirely healed (or not at all healed, some victims would say).

Today people across Northern Ireland and beyond will be thinking of those victims.