Kenny vows to meet families again

Published: 15 Nov 2012 13:000 comments

Sunday was an important day symbolically when the Prime Minister of the Republic of Ireland shared in the Remembrance Day Parade and Services in Enniskillen.

Taoseach Enda Kenny and DETI Minister Arlene Foster MLA, with members of Fermanagh District Council, waiting to lay their wreaths.<

And, he promised to meet the families of those bereaved in the bombing in Dublin or Enniskillen again as the search for justice goes on.

Taoiseach Mr. Enda Kenny - who was described afterwards as a true gentleman by one of the Enniskillen bomb victims who met him during a private reception - placed a wreath of green laurels during the wreath laying ceremony at the War Memorial on a day which was particularly poignant this year as the commemorations marked the 25th anniversary of the Enniskillen Remembrance Day Bomb; eleven lives were lost that day and more than 60 were injured. A 12th victim, Mr. Ronnie Hill died 13 years later.

Tanaiste Mr. Eamon Gilmore, Mr. Kenny's Deputy took part in the Remembrance Day Service in Belfast on Sunday and the occasion marked the first time for the Prime Minister from the Republic and his Deputy to participate in Remembrance Day Services in Northern Ireland.

During his visit to Enniskillen, the Taoiseach attended the Remembrance Service in St. Macartin's Cathedral, conducted by the Dean of Clogher, the Very Rev. Kenneth Hall and the preacher was the Rt. Rev. Robin Eames, former Archbishop of Armagh. He also had the opportunity to meet with families bereaved in the Enniskillen Bomb.

Describing Sunday as "an historic day both in reality and symbolically", Mr. Kenny noted that the visit of her Majesty to Ireland last year - the first of a reigning Monarchy in 100 years - "closed a circle in history and set in place the platform upon which future and much closer relations between the peoples North and South and the peoples of our two islands can actually happen".

He noted that Sunday was symbolical in Enniskillen not just because of Remembrance Day being a global day of Remembrance but also specifically in Enniskillen because of the tragedy that occurred 25 years ago.

Mr. Kenny regarded it as an honour to participate in the ceremony at the cenotaph, to be able to lay a wreath on behalf of the Irish Government and also to attend the Cathedral to listen to the power of the words of Archbishop Robin Eames and to meet family members who lost loved ones 25 years ago in Enniskillen.

During the service, the Archbishop recalled the bomb 25 years ago, when he was the guest preacher at St. Macartin's. Dean Hall explained that Mr. Eames was standing at the steps of the Cathedral when the bomb went off.

"The sermon was not preached that day in the Cathedral but it was preached in the corridors of the hospital as he attended the injured and bereaved," reflected the Dean, who said at that time Mr. Eames was only into his first year as Archbishop of Armagh (having taken up his appointment in 1986.)

Following the service on Sunday, Dean Hall (rector of St. Macartin's Cathedral) held a reception in the Deanery, which was attended by the Taoiseach Mr. Kenny. Mr. John McCusker, Chairman Enniskillen Branch, Royal British Legion and Mr. Billy Dixon, President, escorted the Taoiseach, and also Her Majesty's Lieutenant for County Fermanagh, The Viscount Brookeborough, and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Development Mrs. Arlene Foster to the Deanery, where Mr. Kenny met with a number of families bereaved in the Enniskillen Bomb during a private reception.

Among those who met the Taoiseach was bomb victim Stephen Gault, who explained that Mr. Kenny spoke with each family group for about five minutes. He said that he had asked if he was there on the day, about his injuries and what he saw.

"He seemed very sympathetic," said Stephen, who felt that he was a true gentleman and accommodated everyone.

"It was a major step for the Irish Government to take part in a Remembrance Service in Northern Ireland," said Stephen, who felt especially in the 25th anniversary.

He disclosed: "I asked him could he facilitate a meeting in Dublin with some of the families and he said he would."

Speaking afterwards, Stephen explained: "Now that there is a live line of inquiry we will ask the Irish Government for their assistance in getting answers in our quest for justice."

He added: "He says he will facilitate us in Dublin or come back to Enniskillen to meet with the families. I hope that will be in the not too distant future."

For Stephen the 25th anniversary had been a difficult few days. He regarded it as a big milestone and he described the services on Thursday, November 8, and Sunday as "excellent" and a "dignified way of remembering the victims".

The RBL Chairman, Mr. John McCusker and President Mr. Billy Dixon left the reception at the Deanery to accompany the parade to the South African War Memorial to lay a wreath. They were accompanied by Mr. George Black, Chairman of the RBL Northern Ireland. At the earlier Remembrance Ceremony at the War Memorial, Armistice Day on Sunday was marked with a two minutes' silence to mark the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month.

Sunday's proceedings continued at the Royal British Legion Hall, where guests in attendance included Lord Brookeborough, the Taoiseach, Minister Foster, Archbishop Eames, the Bishop of Clogher Rt. Rev. John McDowell, Dean Kenneth Hall and Canon Peter O'Reilly, Parish Priest of Enniskillen, who was also among the large congregation at the Remembrance Service in St. Macartin's Cathedral.

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