'What would Gordon Wilson have made of this? I think he would have despaired'

Click to follow
The Independent Online
The people of Enniskillen woke up yesterday to find themselves at the centre of world attention for the second time in their history; and for the same grim reason.

The bomb which wrecked the Killyhevlin hotel has reopened the scars of 1987. Then, the Remembrance Day massacre of 11 people helped build up momentum for a quest for peace and catapulted Gordon Wilson, whose daughter Marie died there, into the public arena.

The residents of this prosperous Co Fermanagh town are not hopeful of a similar move today.

"To the outside world Enniskillen is a one-story town - that's why these bloody terrorists chose it," said one local Protestant. "It's brought back a lot of painful memories to a town which just wanted to forget."

Tom Moffitt, proudly wearing his Royal British Legion badge, feared the bomb would unleash a loyalist backlash.

"If that happens then we will see the 25 years of Troubles all over again."

Outside the well ordered Enniskillen Methodist church, the talk was of rising tension in the town. "This is not normally a sectarian town, Protestants and Catholics generally get on okay together. But this won't help," said one congregation member.

At the Catholic St Michael's church 20 yards away the feeling was equally sombre. One churchgoer said: "We're stunned by what happened, and people don't quite know what to think about it. But nobody will benefit from this."

Harry Bradley, 54, and his wife Jean came to Enniskillen for the weekend to escape the violence in Belfast. He said: "We expected to phone home to see that our family was all right there - instead we have just phoned home to say that we are all right."

Behind him stood the war memorial near the spot where the IRA ripped the heart out of the community in 1987, which allowed Gordon Wilson, who died last year, to show the world the power of forgiveness and the desire for peace.

"What would Gordon have thought of this?" asked one man rhetorically. "I think even he would have despaired."

Comments