Call for Inquiry into Enniskillen Poppy Day Murders

The twenty third anniversary of Northern Ireland’s second Bloody Sunday is fast approaching, when, on 8th November 1987, the IRA murdered 13 people (Ronnie Hill died after 13 years in a coma following the bomb) by detonating a bomb in Enniskillen’s Catholic Church reading rooms. The News Letter is reporting that the Historical Enquiries Team is poised to present its report on the murders. Stephen Gault, the son of one of those murdered, who is also leading the campaign to restore the plaque in the fire station to the victims, told the News Letter:

“It (the HET report) doesn’t look very good – we are not hopeful of any prosecutions.”

Mr. Gault has launched a campaign for a public inquiry into the Remembrance Sunday bomb:

“They (the government) tend to lead inquiries into other atrocities and tend to forget about events such as Enniskillen, Teebane and so on,”

“It may not come to anything but at least we are creating awareness. Quite a few other victims of the Enniskillen bomb have signed up to it, so at least we know they are supportive.”

Mr Gault also expressed anger that deputy first minister Martin McGuinness is due to receive a peace award from a charity in the Republic next month.

He said the timing of the presentation ceremony – on November 11 – was “very hurtful”.

“The IRA were responsible for one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles and coming on the time of the anniversary is a kick in the
teeth for victims.”

The joint award has also been conferred on first minister Peter Robinson by the Wicklow-based Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation. Mr Gault hopes the DUP leader will not attend “out of respect”.

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  • Ulick

    “Call for Inquiry into Enniskillen Poppy Day Murders”

    What is it they want to find out via this inquiry?

  • Drumlins Rock

    who carried it out, who approved it, who covered it up, what is probably of most public interest is what was the Deputy First Ministers involvement and knowledge before and after.

  • Alan Maskey

    who carried it out, PIRA

    who approved it, PIRA

    who covered it up, ????

    what is probably of most public interest is what was the Deputy First Ministers involvement and knowledge before and after. Guess that would involve someone high up in PIRA talking.

    So, a waste of time and an attempt to play the victims’ game.

  • Dec

    I think you’re confusing a criminal trial with a public inquiry there, DR.

  • Ulick

    As Alan has pointed out we already know the answers to these questions and there is nothing I know off which links the dFM to it. So it seems that in effect what you really want is an anti-SF/PIRA/McGuinness propaganda vehicle.

  • Rory Carr

    Presumably we have already had, indeed continue to have an ongoing inquiry into this incident as in all other incidents where violent death occurs – it’s called a police investigation which should be deeper reaching and infinitely more efficient than any inquiry mounted long after the fact by any newly instituted quasi-legal body.

    If anyone is unhappy with the poice investigation then it might be considered whether or not an inquiry should be made into their efforts.

  • Cynic

    Yes Dear Rory but in these case all Pigs are not Equal and there are enquiries that many would rather not be made in case it damages the Process TM by throwing up the past misdeeds of others who were (or perhaps were not) in the IRA

  • blonde21

    Ulick – the dfm admitted that he was at the time of the enniskillen bomb was in charge of the ira division in fermanagh so yes he is linked to the enniskillen bomb.

  • between the bridges

    imo yes there should be an enquiry, the truth (or as much of it that can be found out) should be in the public domain,
    if nothing else the example of the futility of violence and loss of innocent lives should be highlighted, so that the current and future generations can learn not to glorify any part of the troubles.

  • Barnshee

    who carried it out, PIRA WHO IN PIRA

    who approved it, PIRA WHO IN PIRA

    who covered it up, ???? WHO

    NAME NAMES

  • Deaglan

    ‘Name Names?’- What, like the Para’s did at Saville? Sure, why not?

    A, B, C, D, E and G

    Happy?

  • Barnshee

    yep that will do just so long as they turn up or give evidence by video etc

  • Neil

    The desire to create an equivalence between the enquiries sought by Republican victims and those sought by Unionist victims is understandable, but the two things do not compare.

    Unionists want enquiries into IRA action, failing to recognise the fact that the RUC already carried out investigations aplenty, and as we know in some instances protected certain killers who were of use the the state. So for each and every Republican atrocity an investigation has already been conducted, and the only instances where the investigation was not thourough was when the security forces/state wanted it that way.

    On the other hand Republicans look for enquiries into killings by the state or state protected paramiltaries where the intial investigation (usually the RUC investigating the RUC; or the RUC investigating the Army, badly) was a whitewash.

    In summary Unionists have had their investigations over the course of the 30 years, Nationalists have had their relatives killed and the investigation has been carried out by the killer and has revealed no guilt, such as Bloody Sunday or Ballymurphy.

    Many IRA men served time, how many soldiers did though? Or police? Unionists had their investigations, hell they had the ability to lock Republicans up with no investigation, proof or trial, which they used with gusto.

    Unfortunately when the innocent victims from my community tried to get justice it was withheld from them, which is why they have to go down the historical enquiry route now, no meaningful investigation into these crimes ever took place in the first place.

  • Neil

    PS: I make no defence of Enniskillen it should never have happened.

    yep that will do just so long as they turn up or give evidence by video etc

    Therein lies the rub. Without evidence given by A, B, C, D etc., there is no enquiry. There is no new information on which to base one. If a whistleblower can be found then fair enough, let there be an enquiry, but beware, much like the Bloody Sunday Paras anyone giving evidence will be protected from prosecution.

  • Reader

    Rory Carr: If anyone is unhappy with the poice investigation then it might be considered whether or not an inquiry should be made into their efforts.
    Do you think that all of the evidence gathered during the investigation should be made public?

  • An Phoblacht Abu

    sure lets have an investigation into every last event in the troubles by both sides.

    Truth and reconciliation process maybe?? immunity from prosecution would have to be given to each and every participant of course.

    I for one want to know all about Unionist politicians and there links to loyalist death squads

  • Granni Trixie

    I am a bit disgusted by the sectarianisation of victims.
    Why start off with reference to Bloody Sunday in relatrion to Enniskillen ? Whataboutery at its worst. Why later talk about the kinds of enquiries Republicans want,Unionsts seek etc?

    Bloody Sunday was particularly significant as a state crime confunded by the ill founded state report which followed which justified the killings because some of those killed were carrying out acts of terrorism.The victims of Enniskillen however have always been acknowedged as innocent victims of the IRA.

    I am sure that many from all sides of the community are equally agrieved by all of these killings.

  • Granni Trixie

    To clarify – Widgery muddied the moral watters by claiming that some of those murdered in Derry were in possession of weapons or bombs. This has since been totally disproved.

  • Rory Carr

    No, Reader, I do not. During the investigation of any crime it is likely that the police will uncover information that is embarrasing or potentially harmful to perfectly innocent people who were investigated during the elimination process that is usual in any such investigation and I do not think that such information should be made public.

    If, for example, Joe Bloggs was asked to provide an alibi for a particular time-frame and he was able to provide a cast-iron, checkable alibi that, say, he was in the arms of his secret gay lover at the time, then I see no good purpose in revealing such information since it adds no insight whatsoever into the commission of the crime.

    I trust that you agree.

  • Seymour Major

    I think that the timing of the peace award is insensitive. Even if 1987 had not happened, it would still have been insensitive because it would be seen as feeding the anti – remembrance bigotry of the Republican movement.

    There is also something rather perverse about giving Martin McGuinness a peace award. He and his organisation accepted peace because there was no other way to secure political influence and a legacy for his movement.

    Looking at it another way, he would not be getting a peace award if he had not been a perpetrator of violence in the first place, whereas people who risked their lives for peace without being violent (and there are many of them) get no recognition at all.

  • An Phoblacht Abu

    another way to look at it might be, if the orange state hadnt discriminated against its citizens and denied them basic rights, the lights of Martin McGuinness would never have needed to turn to armed insurrection

  • Reader

    Rory Carr: I trust that you agree.
    It’s almost as though you think that a police investigation is a more complete job than an inquiry could or should ever be! Do you recognise than an inquiry could at least be of value in clearing the air?
    You may be surprised that I don’t agree with those politicians calling for an inquiry into Enniskillen – they seem to be indulging in a bit of ‘me to’, and I think that an inquiry is pointless and inappropriate.
    However, the inquiry suggestion is probably based on the feeling that there is a systematic bias in the matter of publicly funded finger pointing. You (plural) aren’t doing anything to discourage the notion that is just the way you like it.

  • Reader

    An Phoblacht Abu: another way to look at it might be, if the orange state hadnt discriminated against its citizens and denied them basic rights, the lights of Martin McGuinness would never have needed to turn to armed insurrection
    The key Civil Rights reforms were in place by November 1968, over a year before MMcG is believed to have joined an IRA. So he probably had one or more other motives.

  • Totally inaccurate. And extremely Derry-centric.

  • between the bridges

    in the orange state the minority community grew where as in the free state the minority community decreased by 63% but sure all right thinking people know that discrimination is orange and n-ever green.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Hmmm interesting, particularly in the light of Brian Arthur’s recent statement:

    “No one can deny that there have been changes in the North but it is an equality agenda being pursued. People did not die, they did not take up arms, for equality. They did so for Irish Freedom.”

    The boul lads of 1956-62 didn’t take up arms for equality either — theirs was an attempt, however farcical to overthrow NI. Just a pity for them no-one in the ‘occupied six’ gave a toss.

    The CRM had all their demands met, yet the provo campaign merely intensified.
    And guess what? Now that the provos are helping run Stormont and everyone is even more equal than ever, up pops another bunch read to die sorry kill for Irish unity. Yep it’s all about civil rights.

    There’s also something deeply distasteful about many of the posts on this thread. Thirteen innocent Irish people are shot dead by Brits and there’s (correctly) a tidal wave of sympathy. Thirteen innocent Irish people are blown up by other Irish people claiming to be the rightful govt of Ireland and it’s ‘yeah whatever.’

  • barnshee

    Er no it has not The finger for example was pointed ar machine gun marty for one

  • barnshee

    Detail the discrimination for the record

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Discrimination as in something justifying the slaughter of 13 entirely innocent people at a cenotaph on a Sunday morning? Barnshee, you’ll need to enlighten us.

  • Alan Maskey

    Martin McGuinness may as well get all the peace awards going. Don’t people like Madonna get good mother awards (no offence to Madonna). The Nobel Peace and Literature Prizes have to be the most hypocritical prizes in the world. Soom Martin and Gerry will be where they belong – on Strictly Come Dancing. or Celebrity Chef. Again, you could not make it up.

    Protestants got their enquiry with their beloved Billy Wright. Remember the big meetings and the big crowds. I was delighted when he was offed. King Rat was right up there as one of the very top and most legitimate targets and there is a storm of protest that the authorities helped the brave men should who got him.

    There is nothing to enquire about into Ennniskillen. There is no major secret to be uncovered. That is not the case with all the games the FRU, Special Branch and their allies got up to. Importing ships, doing deals with South Africa, bribing the Garda Commissioner, running PIRA’s security, running the UVF etc etc etc.

    Now if you want an enquiry into Martin or Gerry, fair enough, In fact, it could be argued that anyone prominent in public life should be squeaky clean. Maybe that is a good point about the US scene.
    In Ireland, we vote for Lowry, Haughey, Callelly, ex Sticks, Provo etc etc.
    As james Connolly said: surely Christ did not die for these people.

  • JOHN

    I totally agree that the truth must always be known to respect the victims and give the families closure but we need to be able to do it sensibly. The inquiries are costing silly money in a time when ther isnt much available. The only winners are the legal profesion.
    The Bloody Sunday inquiry and the inquiry into Billy Wrights death told us what we already knew.
    – The British army murdered 13 INNOCENT people
    – The security at the Maze prison was inadequate

    An inquiry into the Ballymurphy massacre and Remembrance Day bombing will after many millions tell us
    – The British army murdered 11 INNOCENT people
    – The IRA murdered 12 INNOCENT people

    The truth has to be formally recognised but can we please do it without the hundreds of millions that could be used to build and maintain hospitals and save lives rather than lining the pockets of the legal elite again!

  • RepublicanStones

    Bloody Sunday required an investigation, particularly in light of the odious Widgery whitewash. As others have stated, im not sure what an inquiry in this massacre is meant to uncover. That said, if the relatives have questions they want answered, I can’t in all good conscience deny them that right.

  • Alan Maskey

    Have any chages followed as a result of the Bloody Sunday enquiry? Have any ex British army officers been sheipped off in chains to the Hague?

  • Seymour Major

    The IRA admitted responsibility for the 1987 bomb. The reason for the planting of the bomb is easy to infer. That the 1987 bomb was a political and propaganda disaster for the republican movement is beyond doubt.

    The only thing left to learn about that incident is the actual names of the planners and the planters. I somehow doubt that any enquiry team is going to find that out.

    Martin McGuinness may as well get all the peace awards going

    This is not a joke. In making a peace award to Robinson and McGuinness, the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation seems to be using the Nobel peace prize precedents of giving a prize to the leader of each “side” in a conflict. Somebody has probably decided that the main parties to the St. Andrews agreement deserve a prize in order to bring synergy to the Nobel prize awarded to John Hume and David Trimble.

    The award is misconceived and ill-judged. Unlike the Nobel prize awards, it is likely to be extremely vexing and hurtful to victims of the troubles. If this award receives a lot of publicity, the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation will find it much harder to raise funds for their charitable work in the future.

  • Jj

    I suppose wanting a straight answer to “who killed my dad/brother/husband/sister/child?” is simple and human enough, from a victims pov.

    In Bloody Sunday, though, there was an additional element – the knowledge of the victims families that their loved ones were innocent and, following their deaths, were not depicted as such. That, as well as the manner of their deaths, was an injustice.

    With the victims of Remembrance Sunday bombing, there is no doubt anywhere that the victims were completely innocent, but the question of the identity of their killers still remains.

    There may be a longing for something other than what we all know, that the Provisional IRA killed those people and killed them without any justification, but what that “something” is, is muddied by the political desires of some to attack individual IRA leaders who have now foresaken their terrible path.

  • Stephen

    Just to clear a few things up…
    Politicians are not calling for inquiry in the Poppy Day Bomb in Enniskillen!!!! I myself have set up this group on Facebook!!!!
    Yes, Enniskillen Victims deserve the truth about the loss of their loved one’s, just like the people of Bloody Sunday and Billy Wright!!!

  • An Phoblacht Abu

    there will always be a small minority who will take the armed route.

    The CRM got all it’s demands met??? the horse had bolted long before that happened im afraid, after Bloody Sunday any hope of containing the armed insurrection was over.

    As for Enniskillen, no one should seek to justify the slaughter of innocent people and i for one never will, however a calls for an inquiry are pointless as there is nothing to be revealed that hasnt already, no one will come forward with any new leads

  • barnshee

    Compare and contrast

    1 an innocent mob which had attacked the police with (inter alia) bricks stones iron bars etc for hours.

    2 Dangerous groups of scouts guides brownies and old people caught in possession of poppies

  • Alan Maskey

    That is one interpretation, Barnshee. Are others allowed?
    A
    ps: You wouldn’t be a Unionist by any chance?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘The CRM got all it’s demands met??? the horse had bolted long before that happened im afraid, after Bloody Sunday any hope of containing the armed insurrection was over.’

    The answer to your rhetorical question is yes.
    Your original contention that the provo campaign was over civil rights is at best a myth. They merely saw the CRM as a suitable reason to jump start another armed campaign, barely six years after ‘operation harvest’ ended in ignimonious failure.

    Bloody Sunday was a propaganda godsend for the provos — way beyond the dreams of the type of republican brave enough to send kiddies into street riots in the hope they might be seriously injured by a rubber bullet. Contrary to what some revisionists like to pretend, the event occurred during prolonged street rioting and within the context of a full-on murder campaign by the provos — in the previous month alone they had killed 18 people.
    Bloody Sunday was not some sort of touchstone for the provo campaign — it was already well underway and would have continued with or without that event.

    As Brian from the East Tyrone brigade put it ‘they did not take up arms, for equality. They did so for Irish Freedom.’
    Events such as Bloody Sunday & the entirely needless deaths of the hunger strikers were grist to the mill, whereas the Enniskillen massacre was a much deserved setback.

    Inquiries into Enniskillen or any one of hundreds of other atrocities are likely to achieve nothing other than fat paydays for lawyers. What needs to be addressed and highlighted is the ongoing suffering of the victims, and the ultimate culpability of both sides in a particularly vicious and particularly pointless armed conflict.

    Not one death was justified or achieved anything and that needs to be accepted, particularly by those republicans seeking to glorify their campaign, whilst downplaying and denigrating the victims of said campaign.

    If indeed people are serious in their ‘Ireland of equals’ soundbite, the best way to start is through admission of an equality of suffering and an equality of culpability.

  • Alan Maskey

    “If indeed people are serious in their ‘Ireland of equals’ soundbite, the best way to start is through admission of an equality of suffering and an equality of culpability.

    Gerry: Had the British any culpability in this or were they just the good Bobbies/ Tommies keeping the thick Paddies from tearing each other apart?

    Do you agree that Bloody Sunday and the squib of Newry ended the civil rights movement?
    If enquries must be held, they should concentrate primarily on those early years.

    At Nuremberg, the Nazis’ early years were hauled over and some were convicted and sentenced for crimes committed during those years.

    What is needed is to bring the ringleaders, the godfathers to “justice”. Paisley is now a Lord, Adams an MP, McGuinness a big shot and so on. Gordon Kerr, last I heard, was doing well. We never quite found our who Patrick Crinnion worked for, though Garvey was suspected.
    Heaven help is when historians rake back through all this.
    One of the best posts ever here was by Kathy C. She said she joined Alliance because of Bloody Sunday.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘Gerry: Had the British any culpability in this or were they just the good Bobbies/ Tommies keeping the thick Paddies from tearing each other apart?’

    Alan all sides in the conflict have culpability — none emerge with any reason to glorify their own actions, yet one of the protagonists desperately seeks to do so.

    SF are engaged in a sad little campaign to inform the world that the good provos fought bravely against a brutal inhuman oppressor. Nowhere is this illustrated more starkly than in Adams autobiography which I struggled through over the summer. Adams highlighted the incidents where the provos killed ‘crown forces’ — attacks against civilians were ignored, other than a brief mention for Enniskillen which was ‘regretable’ because it lost the party votes bless.

    Ultimately the figures speak for themselves. The British army killed 266 catholics, the RUC & UDR 50, and Republican paramiltaries (overwhelmingly PIRA) 381.

    My comment above regarding equality of culpability most certainly stands.
    The overwhelming majority of deaths in the troubles were of innocent civilians, whether murdered by republicans, loyalists or ‘crown forces’. Enniskillen, La Mon & Warrington are no more excuseable than McGurks, Greysteel or the Ormeau Road bookmakers. The difference is that whilst one community is at best embaressed by the paramiltaries who purported to act in it’s name, certain elements of another community seek to airbrush, excuse and in many cases glorify, actions which are entirely indefensible.

    ‘Do you agree that Bloody Sunday ended the civil rights movement?’

    I agree that it allowed the provos to step up a gear in terms of violence. Whether Bloody Friday is an any more reasonable act than Bloody Sunday is highly debateable.

    What is less debateable is that none of the violence achieved anything. Almost 40 years on from Bloody Sunday, Northern Ireland is still in the UK, the Irish govt and SF have signed up to partition and SF sit in Stormont and support the PSNI, having overseen the unilateral decommissioning of their military wing.

    Perhaps we should be thankful that these days their efforts are directed at vote gathering and historic revisionism. It’s cold comfort though for the victims.

    ‘Heaven help is when historians rake back through all this.’

    The only conclusion that any historian should come to is that for 30 years, NI was the setting for a grubby, vicious, pointless civil conflict which achieved nothing and glorified no-one. Anything else is an insult to the truth.

  • barnshee

    “That is one interpretation, Barnshee. Are others allowed?
    A
    ps: You wouldn’t be a Unionist by any chance?”

    Feel free

    PS
    I was there on Bloody sunday (look up Slugger archives where I laid out what I saw/heard on the day I have never voted unionist or anthing else )

  • HeinzGuderian

    A recruiting Sargent for the uvf/uda………….as was Bloody Friday………………..the fools,the fools,A Notion Once Again,grows ever distant !!!!!

    All hail El Beardo…….the best friend Unionism ever had !!!!