Enniskillen Bomb Plaque and the Equality Commission

The removal of the memorial in Enniskillen Fire Station to those murdered in the 1987 Poppy Day bombing was apparently prompted by a complaint from one member of staff. It was allegedly seen as a political emblem for having photographs of the one girl and ten pensioners murdered and the following words: “The innocents who lost their lives.” The removal of the tribute itself caused extremely widespread controversy. A new tribute to those murdered has now been put up in Enniskillen Fire Station according to the Impartial Reporter. This has not, however, satisfied Arlene Foster or Tom Elliott nor would it appear some of the relatives of those murdered.One of the strangest aspects of this is that, according to Arlene Foster, the Fire Service did not seek any advice regarding the original tribute’s alleged offensiveness from the Equality Commission. A similar problem seems to have afflicted Banbridge Council with the unionist councillors seemingly panicking and removing plaques honouring the RUC and UDR, apparently before there was any evidence of a complaint having been made (except obviously by SF councillors).

Both these episodes seem to show that fear of possible censure by the Equality Commission is provoking actions which the Equality Commission might well not have demanded; a little like the assorted occasions on which fear of Health and Safety legislation is used as a reason to ban things which the real Health and Safety professionals would be unconcerned with.