UK & World News

  • 8 November 2012, 2:46

Enniskillen Remembers Victims Of IRA Bomb

The town of Enniskillen in County Fermanagh will come to a standstill this morning for its own special Remembrance Day.

Twenty five years ago - on November 8, 1987 - an IRA bomb exploded as hundreds of people gathered at the town's war memorial on Remembrance Sunday.

Eleven people were killed in the explosion and 63 others were injured. A former headmaster, Ronnie Hill, never regained consciousness after the attack and died in 2000.

Stephen Gault's father Samuel was killed in the bombing and he remembers the day vividly.

He said: "I never heard the explosion, I remember getting a shove on the back and going forward into railings. I must have been knocked out for a matter of seconds because when I came round there was just an eerie, eerie silence.

"I couldn't hear anything, the only thing I could hear was a shop alarm in the distance ringing.

"A choking sensation with the dust. I couldn't breathe, I tried to move, I couldn't move. I was buried to my knees in rubble and I remember thinking 'where's my dad?'.

"And I looked across the ground and he was lying across the ground and I knew right away that he was dead."

Former town councillor Sam Foster was also there that day.

He said: "Suddenly I heard this roll, an enormous roll like thunder and then there was the explosion and everything fell down around us.

"Debris, glass, people screaming, people shouting, people shrieking, people squealing. It was a terrible situation to be in."

Jim Dixon suffered serious head injuries in the attack. He has endured more than 20 operations since. He said: "Pain is my constant companion.

"Bombs are evil things and the damage that they can do is horrendous."

The bombing shocked Northern Ireland and the world. It was also seen as a turning point in the history of the country which was so jaded by decades of terrorism.

This morning relatives of those killed and people who were injured will again gather at the cenotaph in Enniskillen to mark the 25th anniversary of the bombing.

They will remember the moment the bomb exploded at 10.43am, and dignitaries will join the families in an act of remembrance during which wreaths will be laid at the war memorial.

No one has ever been convicted in connection with the IRA attack.

But a specialised group of detectives, the Historical Enquiries Team, has been reviewing such cases and a report on the bomb has been given to the Police Service of Northern Ireland to see if any new evidence can be followed up.