Taoiseach lays wreath for Remembrance Sunday in North
Enda Kenny in Enniskillen tells personal impact of IRA Poppy Day bombing
Taoiseach Enda Kenny lays a laurel wreath at the war memorial in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore today participated in Remembrance Days ceremonies in Northern Ireland laying green laurel wreaths among the red poppy wreaths at the war memorial in Enniskillen and the cenotaph in Belfast.
Mr Gilmore joined the DUP First Minister Peter Robinson for the main Poppy Day ceremony outside Belfast City Hall while Mr Kenny travelled to Enniskillen for the second year in succession to remember the war dead and particularly those who died in the Enniskillen bombing 26 years ago.
The Taoiseach today spoke about how he had been moved by meeting the relatives of the 12 people who died as a result of the IRA bombing at the Enniskillen war memorial on Remembrance Sunday in November 1987, and also of meeting those injured in the blast.
“It was something that made an impact on me when I came here,” Mr Kenny said today. “I think it was appreciated by the groups that I met.”
In the company of DUP enterprise Minister Arlene Foster he again chatted with victims of the bombing today. Mr Foster, the local Assembly member, had formally invited Mr Kenny to Enniskillen on behalf of the Royal British Legion.
Mr Kenny said that the continuing impact of atrocities such as Enniskillen demonstrated the need to deal “with the consequences of the past and the need for reconciliation”.
“It says we should continue to work together to bring a sense of understanding and justice to those victims of the atrocious bomb in Enniskillen and in a broader sense to define what it means for the victims of terrorism right across the board,” he added.
Mr said the British and Irish governments were committed to working “together to build a sense of peace and reconciliation across all communities”.
“I think Enniskillen for me is a particularly personal issue because of my knowledge of some of the people who were involved. If (his presence in the town) means something to the communities here as a demonstration of working with them I am very happy to participate and will continue to do so,” he added.
The Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers said Mr Kenny’s attendance was “a welcome sign of the close relationships between the two governments and a recognition, of course, that men and women throughout the island of Ireland have lost their lives in armed conflict”.
His participation had “particular resonance in Enniskillen because of the tragic toll just over a quarter of a century ago”, she added
On the past generally Ms Villiers said that Dr Richard Haass’s all-party group which is addressing the legacy of the troubles as well as flags and parades had the “enthusiastic support of the two governments”. Dublin and London were “probably closer than they have been for very many years”, she said.