Let the bombing of Enniskillen be not in vain
IWAS surprised to learn it has been 30 years since the Ennis kill en bombing. It seemed along time ago and I suppose given I was nine when it happened, for me it was almost a lifetime ago.
Enniskillen always played a large part in our lives growing up. My mother was from Cavan and we always travelled through it, even when the troubles were bad, to visit our grandparents.
I think the Enniskillen bombing was the first part of the troubles that ever stuck in my mind and made me scared, as the bomb site, now the Clinton Centre, was on the route we travelled.
Watching RTE’s Nationwide feature on the bombing, you forget that while buildings can be reconstructed and made to look beautiful again, it is not the same for the victims of the bombing as they cannot rebuild what they have lost. When something happens that doesn’t directly affect you, you feel sympathy and in this case horror at the time, but you move on. For the families of those killed in the bombing they are reminded on a daily basis.
I was also sad to read of the troubles in Stormont over power-sharing and the possibility of Northern Ireland once again being ruled by Westminster. The breakdown, which has been ongoing since January, has seen civil servants only running the country. It is sad to think that so much blood, sweat and tears went into creating the Northern Ireland Assembly, for it now have been in vain. Stormont is more than just a decision making body for Northern Ireland under the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. It represents an end to the violence which dogged the North for so many decades.
It would be terrible to see it crumble and the possibility of a return to violence and uncertainty in the north. I remember growing up there were times when we were passing through Enniskillen you would be very conscious of your southern accent. There were dark times. Once, while travelling on an ‘unapproved’ road we came across an ambush. When we were stopped the men who had been lying in wait in the ditches came up onto the road and told us to get out of there as that night’s activities were not meant for us. It would be a sad day for my children and their generation to experience something like that again.
I also remember my mother telling a soldier at the checkpoint before Belleek to take his gun out of her child’s face, as he pointed it into the back of our car. Some of these soldiers were so young that even as a child I could see it. They didn’t want to be there. Let’s hope that the politicians in Stormont can work together to keep Northern Ireland moving forward and that we will not see it regress back to a time everyone north and south of the border would rather forget.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the Remembrance Sunday ceremony in Enniskillen last Sunday.