Enniskillen memorial in storage due to controversy over its location
Local Catholic Trust has yet to decide whether monument can be placed at bomb site
People attending a ceremony to unveil the new memorial to the 12 victims of the IRA’s 1987 bomb attack in Enniskillen, on Wednesday. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
A Catholic woman married to a man who lost his father in the 1987 Poppy Day bombing has said she is considering leaving her church because of a controversy over the memorial to the victims of the IRA attack.
The memorial to the 12 who died as a result of the bombing and the scores who were injured was unveiled and dedicated in Enniskillen on Wednesday.
But it was taken away by forklift later in the day to be put into temporary storage because those behind the memorial project, the Ely Trust in Enniskillen do not have authorisation to permanently place it at the bomb site.
They have applied for permission to locate it beside the Clinton Centre, which is located on the site of the Remembrance Day bombing on November 8th, 1987 but the local Catholic St Michael’s Diocesan Trust which owns the land has not yet made a decision on the issue.
Sharon Gault, wife of Stephen whose father Samuel was killed in the blast, told BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan programme that she was so upset by the difficulties over the issue that she was considering leaving the Catholic church.
“I am left in a very difficult position,” said Ms Gault. “How can I support Stephen and affirm my belief in faith and the religion that I was raised on when they cannot commit to a righteous and a commendable act that would show unity and a gracious deed that encompasses all individuals. Where is the reconciliation, where are we moving on by not having this monument in place?”
“It is so, so sad that in the weeks before we are told that no, we cannot put it there. The saddest thing is that this scenario has overshadowed what (Wednesday’s) service and dedication was about,” added Ms Gault.
Stephen Gault said he could understand there might be difficulty if the memorial was to be placed outside a Catholic chapel or church hall or graveyard “but this is in the centre of town on the actual spot where our loved ones were cruelly and brutally murdered 30 years ago”.
Mr Gault said the issue was causing him great distress and “re-traumatisation”.
“It is absolutely disgusting that we cannot have a single memorial to our parents and loved ones who were cruelly murdered by the IRA. Words can’t express how I feel,” he said.
In a statement St Michael’s Diocesan Trust said it only received “initial documentation from the Ely Centre in late September 2017 requesting that the memorial be placed at the entrance to the Clinton Centre which is located on property owned by the Diocesan Trust”.
“The Trust wishes to place on record that, as owner of the property concerned, it was not consulted by the (local) Council in relation to the granting of planning permission. Nonetheless, the Trust is in the process of giving due and careful consideration to all aspects of the request and has yet to come to any decision,” it added.
The Trust said it was “sensitive to the memories and grief being experienced during these days by the families and relatives of those who died and were injured in the Enniskillen Remembrance Sunday bomb of 1987”.
“All of us recognise the place of remembrance in life and the importance of how memorials can help us to come to terms with personal pain and loss,” it added.
The names of the dead are inscribed on the monument in alphabetical order under a dedication that reads: “The memorial is dedicated in loving memory to the 12 innocent civilians murdered by the IRA & in recognition of the scores of innocent civilians injured on Remembrance Sunday 8th November 1987.”