Northern Ireland

IRA graffiti near Enniskillen Troubles memorial treated as hate crime

IRA graffiti in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, close to a memorial for the Enniskillen bomb (DUP/PA)
IRA graffiti in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh, close to a memorial for the Enniskillen bomb (DUP/PA)

The daubing of IRA graffiti close to a memorial to Enniskillen bomb victims is being treated as a hate crime by police.

The letters ‘IRA’ were painted on a wall of the Clinton Centre, which was built on the site of a republican bomb attack in the County Fermanagh town.

Eleven people who had gathered for a remembrance event were killed in the IRA blast in 1987 while dozens were injured.

A 12th victim died 13 years later having never woken from a coma.

A PSNI spokesperson said: “Police in Enniskillen are investigating a report of criminal damage caused to a building in the Belmore Street area of the town.

“A report was received on Sunday evening, November 26, that graffiti had been sprayed on a wall.

“Enquiries into the incident, which is being treated as a hate crime, are ongoing. Anyone who may have witnessed any suspicious activity in the area, or who has any information which could assist, is asked to contact police on 101, quoting 1600 26/11/23.”

Kenny Donaldson, director of victims’ group the South East Fermanagh Foundation, called it a “deplorable action”.

“The memorial to the innocents of the Enniskillen bomb remembers 12 innocents murdered by Provisional IRA terrorists – an act of demonic proportions, indiscriminately attacking people as they came together to mourn the dead of previous wars and conflicts,” he said.

“The truth hurts and for some the truth being represented at that site does hurt – the terrorists, those who justify their actions, other apologists and the fools who believe that the pathway to reconciliation is paved through airbrushing away the actions of others, and/or sanitising their behaviour.

“Our thoughts, prayers and support remain with the Enniskillen families this day and in each day that lies ahead.”

2022 NI Assembly election
The DUP’s Deborah Erskine said those behind the graffiti were trying to whip up public tensions (Liam McBurney/PA)

DUP MLA Deborah Erskine said the spraying of graffiti on the wall of the Clinton Centre was a “despicable act”.

“Those responsible should be ashamed for trying to whip up public tensions,” she said.

“The IRA was a terrorist organisation who killed and murdered scores of people. They do not deserve any public show of support.”

Ms Erskine said she reported the incident to police.

“No doubt this incident will upset Enniskillen bomb families,” she said.

“This graffiti is very close to the memorial that Enniskillen bomb families placed in remembrance of their loved ones.

“A few short weeks ago I joined with those families in a dignified remembrance event on November 8.

“The respect of those families is in sharp contrast to those that carried out this disgusting graffiti incident, in such a public way.”

Councillor Keith Elliott added: “I am shocked to see this graffiti on a public building, which is close to a memorial to 12 innocent people killed by the IRA.

“There was no justification for IRA terrorism in Enniskillen or anywhere else.

“I ask anyone to come forward with information they may have on this incident to the PSNI.”