A SPECIAL service of remembrance was held at St Macartan's
Cathedral, Enniskillen, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the
IRA bomb-blast at the town's cenotaph. Eleven people died at the
scene in 1987, and a 12th victim, a school principal, died 13 years
later, having been in a coma after the attack.
At the service, which was conducted by the Dean, the Very Revd
Kenneth Hall, and attended by several survivors of the bombing, the
Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd John McDowell, said that it was a
day when people recalled those who were themselves remembering when
they were murdered on that Remembrance Sunday.
"For all of us on 8 November 1987, whether near or far from
Enniskillen, we were aware that something almost indescribably
depraved had happened: that people who had gathered for a simple
and dignified act of Remembrance had now, through some perverted
ingenuity, themselves suffered the same bloody devastation that had
been visited on those whom they had gathered to remember."
In thanking God for the community, which refused to allow its
relationships with one another, or its unique spirit, to be
poisoned by enmity and violence, Dean Hall said that it did not
mean having to condone in any way what had happened, or in any
sense to try to minimise the horror of events.
"Nor does it mean that the ordinary operation of the criminal
law should be set aside. Justice and forgiveness are not opposites.
They are complementary virtues. An individual may be ready to
forgive another person, but that does not relieve the state of its
duty to protect its citizens through the application of the law
against that same person, if they have committed a crime.
"However, our faith does mean that we are sorrowful that any
human being could do such dreadful things as were done in this town
25 years ago. And grace also allows us to hope, if it is in any way
possible, that somehow and some time, the people who committed this
atrocity might feel the weight of the anguish and the pain they
have caused in the heart of God, and in the lives of their
neighbours, and might fall to their knees in sorrow."
The Provisional IRA was held responsible for the attack, in
which an estimated 40lb-bomb was placed in a building close to the
war memorial. No one was ever charged with the crime, but the
Police Service of Northern Ireland is understood to be reviewing
again the evidence in the case.