Enniskillen relatives: ‘Our loved ones were not killed in war, they were civilians murdered by IRA terrorists’

Children and adults, including elderly people, stumble away in horror after the IRA Poppy Day massacre of civilians in Enniskillen in November 1987. Picture Pacemaker
Children and adults, including elderly people, stumble away in horror after the IRA Poppy Day massacre of civilians in Enniskillen in November 1987. Picture Pacemaker

The act of premeditated murder committed by the Provisional IRA in Enniskillen on November 8 1987 (known as The Poppy Day Bomb) continues to affect every aspect of our lives some 31 years later.

No-one has ever been convicted of the attack and we continue to strive for truth, justice and acknowledgement.

The South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF) have been representing us and working with the authorities over the last number of years, in an effort to move things forward.

We have had many meetings with the police and others and are steadily building our strategy.

The frustrating issue for us is that the PSNI and the Legacy Branch appear to be more driven to pursue prosecutions against retired members of the security forces, whilst those responsible for 90% of deaths during the Troubles are largely ignored.

We want to be treated fairly; we demand equality of focus, equality of resource and equality of respect.

Whilst the authorities continue to ignore our case and the many others involving innocent victims, they are creating a vacuum that is allowing others with dubious motives to exploit those cases.

We recently became aware that there was an application for a new inquest into the Enniskillen Poppy Day bombing case.

To find out about this development in the local newspaper has only added to our dismay. We along with our advocate, Ken Funston of SEFF, were totally unaware of this application.

The failure of this submission was exposed in the Fermanagh publication, The Impartial Reporter as an ‘Exclusive’. It was indeed an exclusive to the newspaper as we knew nothing about it.

We understand there was one member of one bereaved family involved in the application, whilst we were all kept in the ‘dark’.

What has caused us equal concern is that Denzil McDaniel, the ex-editor of the Impartial Reporter wrote in that newspaper on January 10 “... we cannot easily rule out the dreadful thought agents of the British State know what was going to happen and let it go ahead. In all honesty, in my opinion that is not only possible but, indeed likely.”

Mr McDaniel has a right to comment as he chooses however we do not support his view, and after a recent meeting in SEFF, we wish to put on the record that this statement by Mr McDaniel is unhelpful, and deflects the blame from the perpetrators of the mass murder of innocents by the Provisional IRA.

We do not know what he has based his opinion on, but it has quite simply caused us further upset.

We are a group of families who have remain dignified down the years, perhaps to our detriment, we have watched other cases receive prominence, endless resources and focus.

We have largely held our tongues throughout the last three decades, we have heard others try to suggest that our families received high levels of compensation, we did not and many families received nothing.

We had a memorial garden promised to us taken away by those who thought they knew better than us, who planted a building on the site of our loved one’s slaughter and named it (the Clinton Centre) after someone deeply objectionable to many of us, we had our loved one’s names added to a cenotaph (designed to remember war dead) and which by its nature did not tell the truth of the a nature of our loved ones’ deaths — they were not killed, they were murdered by terrorists.

In more recent times we have not yet had our wishes reflected through the placement of the highly publicised new memorial at the site of where our loved ones were murdered.

Surely anyone with even an ounce of Christian or human compassion would consider us as key stakeholders in whatever happens on the site of the slaughter of our loved ones, regardless of the legal status.

If the great and the good truly care for us then they would highlight these issues and they would seek reparation on our behalf and more so they would put their shoulder to the wheel in insisting that those responsible for the bomb which committed mass murder would be held accountable for it.

Is this their interest or are they merely driven by their own self-promotion?

Yours,

Samuel Gault’s family

Wesley and Bertha Armstrong’s family

Johnny Megaw’s family

Marie Wilson’s family

William and Agnes Mullan’s family (Joan, Margaret and Ruth)

Kit and Jessie Johnston’s family

Alberta Quinton’s family

Mr McDaniel in a letter to the Impartial Reporter, after his comment article, emphasised that he had always said that the people who were responsible for the atrocity were the people who planned it and carried it out