Varadkar joins Foster in Enniskillen for Remembrance Sunday

Taoiseach lays wreath at commemoration on 32nd anniversary of Fermanagh bombing

Leo Varadkar lays wreath at Enniskillen memorial. Photograph: Gerry Moriarty

Leo Varadkar lays wreath at Enniskillen memorial. Photograph: Gerry Moriarty

 

The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar travelled to Enniskillen in Co Fermanagh on Sunday to join DUP leader Arlene Foster and hundreds more in marking Remembrance Sunday and more particularly the 32nd anniversary of the IRA Poppy Day bombing.

Mr Varadkar continued the tradition of former Fine Gael taoiseach Enda Kenny of commemorating the anniversary of the Enniskillen bombing in which 11 people were killed with a 12th victim, Ronnie Hill, who was in a coma, dying 13 years later.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney observed Remembrance Day at the cenotaph in Belfast.

They laid green laurel wreaths at the memorial and cenotaph beside the many more red poppy wreaths that were laid.

Also in attendance at the Enniskillen ceremony was the Northern Secretary Julian Smith.

Before the laying of the wreaths the traditional two-minutes silence was observed to remember the war dead and those who died in the Enniskillen bombing in 1987.

After the ceremony Mr Varadkar attended a special Remembrance Day ceremony at St Macartin’s Church of Ireland Cathedral led by the dean of the cathedral, Rev Kenneth Hall.

Among the guests was Monsignor Peter O’Reilly, parish priest of St Michael’s Catholic Church directly across from St Macartin’s.

Mr Varadkar joined Ms Foster and Mr Smith in reading prayers at the service.

This was the second time Mr Varadkar attended the Enniskillen Remembrance Day ceremony, and the eighth year in a row that the Irish Government has been represented at this event.

In Belfast, Mr Coveney said he was privileged to attend the ceremony. He said it was an important day North and South. “Right across the island of Ireland we have appropriate and sombre commemorations recognising the fact that 35,000 people on this island died in the first World War,” he said.

“On days like this it’s an opportunity to come together from different political perspectives and backgrounds and show respect, which is what today should be about,” said Mr Coveney.

In Britain, the royal family led the tributes to the war dead in central London. British prime minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn stood side by side during the commemorative proceedings on Sunday. The pair were joined in laying wreaths by Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, the DUP’s Westminster leader Nigel Dodds and newly elected Speaker of the House of Commons Sir Lindsay Hoyle. – Additional reporting from PA