Newly weds devastated by bombing of reception hotel

 

A FERMANAGH newly wed was in tears yesterday after her wedding day was ruined by bombers.

Ms Martina McManus and her fiance, Mr Thaddeus Turbett, from Omagh, had returned from London, where they both work as nurses, to get married in her native Newtownbutler.

The couple - they are both in their 30s - were enjoying the reception at the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen, when the 1,200 lb bomb exploded, reducing the newly renovated complex to rubble.

Some of the wedding guests were injured, including one of the bridesmaids, who was treated for shock at the Erne Hospital, Enniskillen.

Speaking from her Newownbutler home yesterday, Ms McManus said: "We are very, very disappointed."

It is believed the newly weds lost wedding gifts and return flight tickets to London in the blast. The couple had intended to go on honeymoon but it is not known if their plans have been cancelled.

After the bomb warning was received, hotel staff kept the situation calm and evacuated guests.

One of the wedding guests, Mr James Rice (43), a neighbour of the bride, said the wedding couple were devastated as all their possessions in the hotel appeared to be ruined.

"Myself and friends were getting ready to go home and were told there was a bomb warning. We were all cleared out into the top carpark and a very loud explosion occurred. All the people were very badly shaken and some children were crying. We were standing out in the dark until 3 a.m., when we went home."

Another wedding guest, Mr Eugene Turbett, a cousin of the groom, said the wedding day had been a great success until the bomb exploded.

"Everyone was enjoying themselves. The family are now all shocked as they believe they have lost all their personal belongings. It had been a great day and it is tragic that it turned out so terrible at the end."

All guests at the Killyhevlin Hotel were given alternative accommodation by the Community Services Department in other Fermanagh hotels.

Among those was an Armagh pensioner on a weekend trip to Fermanagh with his wife. Mr Cecil Bloomer (69), and his wife, Grace, were in bed when the bomb warning was phoned and they were among the last people to be evacuated.

Speaking from the Fort Lodge Hotel, Enniskillen, where they spent yesterday morning, they were unsure whether possessions they had left behind, including wedding rings, would be retrievable.

At first, Mr and Mrs Bloomer thought the noise being made around the hotel was from children playing.

Still in his pyjamas, Mr Bloomer said: "My wife and I thought we would go for a quiet weekend down by the lakeside. We had gone to bed about 11 p.m. and then at 12 a.m. we heard a bell and thought the children were playing. Someone then knocked at the door. We had stayed in bed but then got up to see what was happening. The staff told us to get out. They were very nervous and frightened.

"We were very nearly the last out and had only time to grab a few clothes which we put on in the carpark. We left behind my dentures, my wife's handbag and money and also our wedding rings. However, we were not frightened."

A spokeswoman at the Erne Hospital in Enniskillen said everyone was thankful there were no serious injuries but there was a great feeling of sorrow for the newly weds.

"There's a feeling of thanks among the injured that no one was seriously injured. There's also disappointment for the wedding couple and sorrow that the wedding day ended so abruptly and so horribly," she said.