Northern Ireland news

Hundreds gather on anniversary of Enniskillen bombing as memorial to victims unveiled

A memorial to the victims of the Enniskillen bombing is unveiled as families of victims, friends and survivors gather for a service of remembrance on the anniversary of the attack PICTURE: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress

THE people of Enniskillen have joined together to remember their loved ones, 30 years after one of the darkest days of the Troubles.

Several hundred people gathered for a memorial service yesterday morning at the town's cenotaph, where an IRA bomb exploded on November 8 1987, killing 12 civilians and injuring more than 70.

Survivors and families of those who died were joined by dignitaries including Secretary of State James Brokenshire, Chief Constable George Hamilton and political representatives.

The Rev David Cupples, of Enniskillen Church, told the crowd how the terrible events of 30 years ago had "changed the lives of everyone who was here that day and who are here today".

He said 12 people, who were beloved family members, friends and neighbours, were "slain by the hands of wicked men".

He spoke of the pain of the "shattered hopes and dreams" and the "struggle to carry on day by day" that many still face.

A hush fell over the town as a memorial bearing the names of the 12 dead was unveiled and wreaths were laid.

In a written message read by Viscount Brookeborough, the Queen sent renewed sympathies to the families and victims.

She said: "I am aware of the irreplaceable loss and profound sadness shared by so many families who lost their loved ones and of all those who were injured.

Stephen Gault and his wife Sharon comfort each other at the unveiling of a memorial to the victims of the Enniskillen Remembrance Day bombing. Stephen, then aged 18, saw his father Samuel, 49, killed by the IRA bomb in in November 1987. Mr Gault was also injured in the blast PICTURE: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress

"I renew my sympathy with you all on this occasion. Whilst this memorial will serve your community as a permanent reminder of that tragic day it is my hope that by it the families who have suffered will be strengthened in the knowledge that those who lost their lives and the injured are never forgotten."

Following the service Stephen Ross, who was seriously injured in the bombing, said he felt no bitterness nor anger towards those behind the atrocity.

"I hold no grudges and I am able to ask God to forgive. I have no sense of bitterness. It only eats you up and consumes you. Being angry and being focused on that anger does nobody any good," he told the Press Association.

"It is a miracle I am still alive today. It is painful looking back but you get to stand with other people who have walked through difficult times, who have had to walk through their injuries and loss.

"It is difficult standing on the site. You still remember everything that happened on the day. I don't think anyone will be able to erase those memories."

Secretary of State James Brokenshire lays a wreath at the Enniskillen Remembrance Day bombing memorial PICTURE: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress

He added that Christian faith helps him "rise above" the pain and move on.

A service of remembrance was later held for invited guests in Enniskillen Presbyterian Church.

Jessica Murray, Great-Granddaughter of Wesley and Bertha Armstrong at a ceremony in Enniskillen as a memorial is unveiled to commemorate the victims of the remembrance day bombing. Mr and Mrs Armstrong were among 11 people who died in the explosion. A twelfth victim, Ronnie Hill, slipped into a coma two days after the explosion and died 13 years later PICTURE: Justin Kernoghan/Photopress

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