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Sunday 22 September 2019

Church moves to heal row over Enniskillen bomb memorial

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

Richard Vernalls

A senior Catholic cleric yesterday moved to reassure all members of the community amid a row about the proposed location of a memorial to the 1987 Enniskillen bombing.

Monsignor Joseph McGuinness, administrator for the Diocese of Clogher, said in a letter that the church had "no objection whatsoever to a permanent memorial being erected to the victims".

His remarks came amid fears that community relations between Protestants and Catholics could be damaged in the town.

On the 30th anniversary of the bomb last Wednesday, a temporary memorial was unveiled to the 12 victims.

The bombing killed 11 people outright and left 68 injured, while a 12th victim, Ronnie Hill, died after spending 13 years in a coma.

Bereaved families say they have attempted to have the memorial erected permanently at the site of the blast but that the local Catholic diocese owns the land and has not yet given them permission.

However, the St Michael's Diocesan Trust, part of the Diocese of Clogher, said it was only informed of the application in late September.

The site of the bombing is now home to the Clinton Centre, built on land owned by the diocesan trust in 2002.

Yesterday Monsignor McGuinness said there had been much "ill-informed" comment on the issue.

He said: "I want to state firmly that the Diocesan Trust has no objection whatsoever to a permanent memorial being erected to the victims of the Enniskillen bombing.

"The creation of a public memorial is both a way of providing solace and comfort to those who grieve, and also a way of drawing the community together in remembrance and solidarity."

Monsignor McGuinness added: "The Ely Centre, under whose auspices the memorial was created, submitted an application to the Trust to negotiate a lease of a portion of the land at the front of the Clinton Centre with a view to placing the memorial there.

"The hope was expressed that the Trust could come to a quick decision in time for the unveiling of the memorial on November 8.

"The Diocesan Trust willingly agreed to give the proposal full and careful consideration, but made it very clear that the matter couldn't be resolved in such a short space of time."

Sunday Independent

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