Reaction: Villiers 'could have handled bomb inquiry decision better'

Published: 28 Nov 2013 13:140 comments

STORMONT Minister Arlene Foster has said the Secretary of State's could have handled her decision to rule out holding an inquiry into the Enniskillen bombing “much better.”

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STORMONT Minister Arlene Foster has said the Secretary of State's could have handled her decision to rule out holding an inquiry into the Enniskillen bombing “much better.”

Theresa Villiers says she will not be holding an inquiry into the 1987 IRA attack because it is not a matter for the British government.

She made her comments in an interview with The Impartial Reporter (out today) and followed them up in a letter to Ulster Unionist Councillor Raymond Farrell.

But Mrs Foster, a Fermanagh-south Tyrone MLA, believes the Secretary of State should have contacted the families of those killed and injured in the bomb.

Speaking to impartialreporter.com, Mrs Foster said: “What the Secretary of State said should have been directed first hand to those families. It is not appropriate to make such a definitive statement in the media before you have met with victims and their families. I think it adds to the hurt that will undoubtedly be felt by those families today.”

The Enterprise Minister added: “We want a victim centred approach and really this does not display that, although I am not surprised because she does not want an inquiry because that is the stance of the government at the moment.”

“I intend to meet with her and I will be raising this issue with her. The HET process has been painfully slow and there has been little or no engagement from the police. There is no point in the Secretary of State saying any of this if nothing is being done,” she said.

Ulster Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has told impartialreporter.com that Ms Villier's decision has "closed off the opportunities for those families and for getting justice.”

“I am not surprised that the Secretary of State, has on behalf of UK government, decided this because it seems to be their policy. The difficulty I have is that there has been no real progress, even the HET has been slow. I met with the group and families in August 2011 to discuss Enniskillen and still there has been no progress.”

Mr Elliott added: “She is is wrong in what she said that it is not a matter for the government. The matter for an inquiry is for the government. I think people are deeply annoyed by this today, and hugely frustrated, and feel let down. I feel let down by the entire process, not just by the Secretary of State, but the entire process,” he said.

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