'We still have questions not answered'
Sarah Saunderson • Published 25 Oct 2012 15:30
Victims and those who were bereaved in the Enniskillen bombing deserve answers to their questions about what happened on that day, Margaret Veitch feels.
Margaret lost both her parents William and Nessie Mullan, proprietors of Mullan's well-known chemist's shop on Darling Street, in the Enniskillen bombing.
"Why should I move on until I get some kind of closure? We need to understand what happened and why it happened. The more we shout about things like the Bloody Sunday enquiry. The people involved there shouted, they spent £200 million and they got answers to their questions. I would like answers to my questions," she said.
"I feel I never wanted to be part of this. I hate it. But I owe it to my Dad and Mum never to forget what happened or I would feel they died in vain," she said. The pain caused by her parents' deaths never leaves her.
Margaret heard the awful news just as a holiday in Africa with her late husband Crawford was drawing to its close. As proprietor of Veitch's fashion shop on Belmore Street, she had won a window dressing competition.
"Just before I left, my Mum said, 'I wish you weren't going so far away'. I said, 'Mum, do not worry. We will not be gone before we are back. Where's Daddy?' 'Gone to walk the dog'. He did not want to say goodbye. The last I saw mum was at the kitchen door saying 'Have a lovely holiday'," she recalled.
"We were due home on Monday night. We had breakfast and Crawford lifted a newspaper. World news said 'Bomb in Enniskillen'. He was an awful panicker. They had reported six dead and 40 injured. Crawford phoned home and his sister told him the news. He did not tell me direct. He said my father and mother were very badly injured. I took him by the arm and said 'tell me the truth'. It was shock and horror and as if my life had ended. It was just dreadful," she said.
The plane journey on the connecting flight from London to Belfast was terrible, surrounded by journalists flying over to cover the story and getting glimpses of newspapers which included photographs of her beloved parents.
She did not feel she could answer reporters' questions. An injured Gordon Wilson, who lost his daughter Marie, gave an interview to the BBC with his arm in a sling in which he said he forgave those involved. His words made global headlines and this took some pressure off others. "I could not comprehend what had happened. Gordon Wilson did take an awful lot of pressure off us. We did not know what to say. I was hurt. I was angry, so emotional. It is hard to describe how you feel. The best piece of advice my husband gave me was if you do not know what to say, say nothing," she said.
While the anniversary will be difficult, she and her family do not need significant dates to remember her parents.
"Every anniversary is bad but we don't need anniversaries to remember our parents. This 25th anniversary is very, very hard. It does not get any easier. I have life before the bomb and life after the bomb. I feel my parents missed out on an awful lot in their later years. They had worked hard. They did not live to see their grandchildren growing up," she said.
"It was just horrible. The shock and horror. It is in your heart for the rest of your life. That is what we will never get over," she said.
"I do not think we will ever get justice. It hurts me so much. The NIO and British Government do not care. Is it because if we speak out we are rocking the boat? We are not allowed to say too much, it might rock the peace process. We have had to move on. What do we move on to?" she asked.
This article appeared in Impartial Reporter 25 Oct 12