Monday, November 07, 2022

By Rebecca Black, PA

The murders may be in the past but the withholding of information continues, the daughter of a retired nurse killed in an IRA bomb attack on Remembrance Sunday in Co Fermanagh has said.

Aileen Quinton has urged anyone with information which could help the investigation to come forward.

Enniskillen was devastated on November 8th, 1987 when a bomb turned the annual remembrance event into an atrocity.

Eleven people were killed and more than 60 were injured in the blast.

A twelfth victim, Ronnie Hill, died from his injuries after 13 years in a coma.


On Tuesday, relatives of those killed and members of the public will take part in an act of remembrance at a newly installed memorial in the town to mark the 35th anniversary.

Chair of Enniskillen Memorial Remembrance group Stella Robinson, whose parents Wesley and Bertha Armstrong were killed in the bomb blast, said it was hard to put into words how much having a memorial worthy of their loved ones means to families.

She described myriad emotions, including sadness, pride and gratitude at the 35th anniversary.

“Whilst we still miss those torn from us, we are proud of these 12 wonderful people who had made and were still making such a positive contribution to all sections of the community and their families and friends. It was such a privilege and blessing to love and be loved by them,” she said.

Ms Quinton, whose mother Alberta, 72, was killed in the bombing, said her grief has been exacerbated by attempts to rewrite history.

“It’s still awful that it happened, but what has got worse since is people trying to dismiss it as not relevant any more,” she told the PA news agency.

“People say, ‘oh it happened in the past’, but people continuing to justify it is still happening, people not disclosing information about who was responsible is still happening.”

No-one was ever convicted for the bomb attack.

Victims are concerned that a bill by the UK government which proposes an effective amnesty for Troubles crimes in exchange for co-operation with a new information retrieval body will close down all avenues to justice.

Enniskillen bombing
Aileen Quinton, whose mother Alberta Quinton was murdered in the Enniskillen bombing (Niall Carson/PA)

Ms Quinton said: “So far, it has been somebody’s free go.

“It’s hard to be hopeful because police don’t seem to be interested. And then we have government trying to get this dreadful legacy bill through, but I will never accept or agree to justice being overlooked or played down.

“Justice for the past is essential for prosperity, not just financial prosperity but emotional and moral prosperity of the future.

“My message is that murder still matters and, even with the passage of time, the actual murders may be in the past but people continuing to justify it is happening in the present, continuing to fail to provide information is happening in the present.

“Even with the passage of time, if anybody has information, they should bring it forward.”

Kenny Donaldson of the victims’ group SEFF, described the bomb attack as “amongst the most heinous to have been carried out over the years of the terrorist campaign”.


“To attack people whilst they’re gathered to remember the dead further debased humanity,” he said.

“Eleven innocents were slaughtered, with a twelfth to follow 13 years later, and over 60 physically and/or psychologically injured, but beyond this there were several hundred others who were present in the immediate aftermath as civilians, members of the security forces or first responders.

“At this point the bereaved families and others injured due to the events of that fateful day have yet to receive justice, truth and accountability for what occurred, on this the 35th anniversary since that terrorist outrage, perpetrated by the Provisional IRA.

“We call upon the community and those in possession of information which could lead to the apprehending of those responsible, to come forward and disclose such information.”

UUP MLA Tom Elliott said the families of the bomb victims deserve truth and justice.

“The families have endured years of pain and watched on as IRA victims have been sidelined whilst others tried to justify the IRA’s barbaric murder campaign,” he said.

“All murder is wrong whether it was 1987 or 2022. It was the Provisional IRA who massacred innocent men, women and children in Northern Ireland. The IRA’s bloody list of atrocities should be something to be ashamed of, not to be romanticised or glorified.

“To this day, many continue to live with the pain and suffering of losing a loved one or with the physical and emotional suffering of terrorist activities. Even with that pain and suffering I pay great tribute to those who have persevered with the erection of the memorial in Enniskillen.”

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