Two Fermanagh voices: Gordon Wilson forgives the IRA killers of his daughter Marie; Arlene Foster compares Sinn Féin to crocodiles.
On November 8 1987 a huge IRA bomb killed Marie Wilson daughter of local business man Gordon Wilson… This was his account of watching his daughter dying.
“We were both thrown forward, rubble and stones and whatever in and around and over us and under us. I was aware of a pain in my right shoulder. I shouted to Marie was she all right and she said yes, she found my hand and said, “Is that your hand, dad?” Now remember we were under six foot of rubble. I said “Are you all right?” and she said yes, but she was shouting in between. Three of four times I asked her, and she always said yes, she was all right.
When I asked her the fifth time, “Are you all right, Marie?” she said, “Daddy, I love you very much.” Those were the last words she spoke to me. She still held my hand quite firmly and I kept shouting at her, “Marie, are you all right?” but there wasn’t a reply.
We were there about five minutes. Someone came and pulled me out. I said, “I’m all right but for God’s sake my daughter is lying right beside me and I don’t think she is too well.” She’s dead. She didn’t die there. She died later. The hospital was magnificent, truly impressive, and our friends have been great, but I miss my daughter, and we shall miss her but I bear no ill will, I bear no grudge. She was a great wee lassie, she loved her profession. She was a pet and she’s dead. She’s in heaven, and we’ll meet again.
Don’t ask me please for a purpose. I don’t have a purpose. I don’t have an answer, but I know there has to be a plan. If I didn’t think that, I would commit suicide. It’s part of a greater plan, and God is good. And we shall meet again.
I have lost my daughter, and we shall miss her. But I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge. Dirty sort of talk is not going to bring her back to life.
“I shall pray for those people tonight and every night.”
Fermanagh woman DUP leader Arlene Foster has spelled out her resistance to an Irish Language Act.
“You think the DUP should implement an Irish language act? Are you serious? As some sort of a magnanimous step for Sinn Fein? We will never accede to an Irish Language act. It is used as a political tool. They are using, and it amazes me how people cannot see how they are using the Irish language as a tool to beat unionism over the head. Never mind that but the cost that would be incurred in terms of the Irish language would be quite incredible and all for a tiny minority of people who chose to speak the language and of course they are entitled to do so. But if we have an Irish language act maybe we should have a Polish language act as well because there are more people in Northern Ireland who speak Polish than speak Irish. This characterisation we should give something to Sinn Fin to keep them appeased is not the way I do business. If you feed a crocodile they are going to keep coming back and looking for more. Maybe that was the way the Ulster Unionist party felt they should proceed but it’s not the way the Democratic Unionist Party does business.
At the time of the Enniskillen bombing we were living in Mid Ulster. Our neighbour was a builder and he told us that when Gordon Wilson’s words about forgiveness were broadcast, he was travelling in a van with a squad of builders, all republicans. He said that there wasn’t a dry eye in the van and one of the ‘hard men’ was heard to say, “If there were more people like that, there would be peace in this country.” Arlene Foster, listen and learn.
I met Gordon Wilson that terrible day and on many days afterwards. He was one of the most gracious human beings I have ever encountered. He gave inspiration to my favourite website http://www.theforgivenessproject.com