‘Solution’ reached in Enniskillen memorial stand-off

The Very Rev Kenneth R J Hall of St.Macartin's Cathedral in Enniskillen is pictured with The Rt Hon The Viscount Brookeborough Her Majesty's Lord Lieutant for Co.Fermanagh, at the unveiling of the memorial for the victims of the 1987 Poppy Day Bomb at 30th anniversary commemorations.

A ‘solution’ has been agreed for a memorial to the victims of the 1987 ‘Poppy Day’ bombing in Enniskillen to be located “within the gable wall of the Clinton centre”, after a long-running standoff between families and a Catholic trust that owns the land around the proposed site.

Eleven people were killed – including three married couples – and 63 were injured when an IRA bomb detonated during the annual Remembrance service at the town’s cenotaph. Another victim, Ronnie Hill, died after spending 13 years in a coma.

The Ely Centre group commissioned a large stone tablet, which lists the names of the 12 people who died as a result of the blast, with a view to having it on permanent display at the scene of the atrocity.

However, St Michael’s Diocesan Trust owns the land around the bomb site and had decided to reject the proposal, citing a number of concerns. Monsignor Peter O’Reilly, parish priest of Enniskillen and a director of the Trust, had said the size of the memorial posed “insurmountable” problems for access to the site. He had also said there were issues around maintenance and “liability” for insurance purposes.

Families had expressed hurt and dismay over the stand-off.

In May, Steven Gault, whose father Samuel died in the blast, said: “Hurt does not scrape the surface of how we are feeling.”

He asked: “Why can’t we have a simple, innocent memorial to remember our loved ones murdered by terrorists 30 years ago?”

However, a meeting was held yesterday involving “all parties”, chaired by the Dean of Enniskillen Cathedral.

The Very Rev Kenneth Hall said an agreement has now been reached.

“Good progress has been made and a solution has been reached by all parties involved to site the memorial within the gable wall of the Clinton Centre subject to necessary approvals,” the Dean said in a statement issued earlier today.

“However we envisage that this work will take time but all parties are committed to work together to complete this matter within a reasonable time scale.”

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