Enniskillen service commemorates dead and injured

Enda Kenny and Arlene Foster pay respects at Cenotaph to victims of 1987 bombing

First Minister Arlene Foster and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were among those  at the  Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Enniskillen. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

First Minister Arlene Foster and Taoiseach Enda Kenny were among those at the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph in Enniskillen. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

 

Enniskillen stood silent at 11am as hundreds congregated at the Cenotaph on Belmore Street to mark Remembrance Sunday with a sombre ceremony.

Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster and Taoiseach Enda Kenny who had returned to the town to pay his respects for the fifth year in a row stood side by side in quiet reflection.

Alongside them were her majesty’s lieutenant for Fermanagh Viscount Brookeborough, American consul general Daniel J Lawton and Krish Hopkins, the parliament undersecretary of state for Northern Ireland, who had also bowed their heads.

The short ceremony was held near the spot of the Enniskillen bombing which killed 11 and injured 63 almost 30 years ago, evoking memories of one of the darkest days of the Troubles.

The doleful sound of Ballyreagh Silver Band reverberated around the street and then there was silence, apart from the light footsteps of all those who lay wreaths to remember the dead.

Wreath of laurels

Mr Kenny laid a wreath of laurels on behalf of the Irish Government as he has done in previous years, not just as an act of remembrance, but an act of togetherness between the two regions.

“This is an important occasion. It is very evocative, it’s very meaningful. Coming to Enniskillen is an opportunity to continue that hand of friendship,” Mr Kenny said.

Ms Foster, who opted for Enniskillen over attending a remembrance service in Belfast, said she wanted to be in her home county for Sunday’s event.

“The event is about promoting togetherness and reconciliation. It is about remembering the horrors of war and the people who served during that time,” she said.

The ceremony was poignant and brief. Then the visiting dignitaries joined locals at St Macartin’s Cathedral where the Very Rev Kenneth Hall, the Dean of Clogher, and the Bishop of Clogher, the Right Rev John McDowell, led prayers for the fallen.

Packed church

Mr Kenny joined Ms Foster in reading to the packed church where he prayed for those who “have to mourn the dead, those who have lost husband or wife, children or parent”.

Ballyreagh Silver Band played during the ceremony, with poignant versions of Highland Cathedral and The Last Post, performed by Warren Kerr. The Piper’s Lament was performed by Pipe Maj Gordon McKeown of the 4 Ulster Defence Regiment Association.

In another act of reaching out, Dean Hall welcomed Msgr Peter O’Reilly of St Michael’s Church, who helped to conduct the ceremony and read a gospel.

During his address, Bishop McDowell remembered the agony of the war of 1916 on this the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, calling on those to pay tribute to the dead “with dignity and pride”.