Church moves to heal row over En­niskillen bomb me­mo­rial

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - VIEWPOINTS - Richard Ver­nalls

A SE­NIOR Catholic cleric yes­ter­day moved to re­as­sure all mem­bers of the com­mu­nity amid a row about the pro­posed lo­ca­tion of a me­mo­rial to the 1987 En­niskillen bomb­ing.

Mon­signor Joseph McGuin­ness, ad­min­is­tra­tor for the Dio­cese of Clogher, said in a let­ter that the church had “no ob­jec­tion what­so­ever to a per­ma­nent me­mo­rial be­ing erected to the vic­tims”.

His re­marks came amid fears that com­mu­nity re­la­tions be­tween Protes­tants and Catholics could be dam­aged in the town.

On the 30th an­niver­sary of the bomb last Wed­nes­day, a tem­po­rary me­mo­rial was un­veiled to the 12 vic­tims.

The bomb­ing killed 11 peo­ple out­right and left 68 in­jured, while a 12th vic­tim, Ron­nie Hill, died af­ter spend­ing 13 years in a coma.

Be­reaved fam­i­lies say they have at­tempted to have the me­mo­rial erected per­ma­nently at the site of the blast but that the lo­cal Catholic dio­cese owns the land and has not yet given them per­mis­sion.

How­ever, the St Michael’s Dioce­san Trust, part of the Dio­cese of Clogher, said it was only in­formed of the ap­pli­ca­tion in late Septem­ber.

The site of the bomb­ing is now home to the Clin­ton Cen­tre, built on land owned by the dioce­san trust in 2002.

Yes­ter­day Mon­signor McGuin­ness said there had been much “ill-in­formed” com­ment on the is­sue.

He said: “I want to state firmly that the Dioce­san Trust has no ob­jec­tion what­so­ever to a per­ma­nent me­mo­rial be­ing erected to the vic­tims of the En­niskillen bomb­ing.

“The cre­ation of a pub­lic me­mo­rial is both a way of pro­vid­ing so­lace and com­fort to those who grieve, and also a way of draw­ing the com­mu­nity to­gether in re­mem­brance and sol­i­dar­ity.”

Mon­signor McGuin­ness added: “The Ely Cen­tre, under whose aus­pices the me­mo­rial was cre­ated, sub­mit­ted an ap­pli­ca­tion to the Trust to ne­go­ti­ate a lease of a por­tion of the land at the front of the Clin­ton Cen­tre with a view to plac­ing the me­mo­rial there.

“The hope was ex­pressed that the Trust could come to a quick de­ci­sion in time for the un­veil­ing of the me­mo­rial on Novem­ber 8.

“The Dioce­san Trust will­ingly agreed to give the pro­posal full and care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion, but made it very clear that the mat­ter couldn’t be re­solved in such a short space of time.”

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