Let the bomb­ing of En­niskillen be not in vain

The Sligo Champion - - OPINION - with Grace Larkin

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.

Pic: Ro­nan McGrade/Pace­maker

Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar at the Re­mem­brance Sun­day cer­e­mony in En­niskillen last Sun­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.