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Thursday 9 February 2023 Dublin: 2°C
PA Archive/Press Association Images
# The Troubles
Victim of Enniskillen Bombing: 'I remember running around as if it was a horror movie'
Stephen Gault was just 18 when he was injured in the bomb. His father Samuel, who had been standing next to him, was killed instantly.

TODAY MARKS THE 27th anniversary of the Enniskillen Remembrance Day Bombing in which eleven people lost their lives and dozens more were injured.

One of those people was Stephen Gault, who was just 18 at the time and whose father Samuel was killed in the bombing.

In conversation with, he described his day, which started in a debate with his mother about whether or not it would be appropriate for him to wear the new leather jacket his dad had bought him to the Remembrance Day ceremony. He and his dad headed to the cenotaph in Enniskillen and took up the position they stood in every year for the ceremony.

A crowd was starting to form and I saw people I might not have seen for 12 months since the last service. A policeman walked past and acknowledged my dad, who had serviced in the RUC, and I turned to ask him who it was. I never got that answer. I don’t remember the explosion, I just remember getting pushed in the back and falling. There was an eerie, eerie silence, except for a shop alarm in the distance.

He looked for his father, who had been standing next to him, and said he knew from his injuries that he had been killed instantly.

ENNISKILLEN BOMB : AFTERMATH PA Archive / Press Association Images The Cenotaph at Enniskillen with the devastated community centre in the background. PA Archive / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

I remember running around as if it was a horror movie, in a daze. There was that eerie silence and then as if someone flicked a switch the sound just erupted – women screaming, children crying. Being in the middle of that, it’s so surreal, you just think you’re not really there.

The immediate aftermath of the bombing was a blur for the 18-year-old. He was told the thick leather jacket he wore that day, torn to shreds by shrapnel, had probably saved his life. Gault said he can only vaguely remember the wake and funeral for his father, still in shock about what had happened to him.

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I remember a man coming to the door though, and he said he was ashamed to be a Catholic. And I said: “It wasn’t Catholics who murdered the people – it was terrorists”. I remember at the time, Catholic people who lived in the area being ashamed – people were ashamed of their own religion – but theses were terrorists who did this.

It was a move that rattled the Republican movement as even those who previously had supported the IRA, saw an attack on a commemoration for the dead as barbaric.

27 years on, Gault still feels the effects of his injuries that day and the pain in his heart remains sharp, intensified by the fact that that no one has even been convicted of the crime.

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A furious Margaret Thatcher said at the time no stone would be left unturned until those responsible were tracked down and punished. Two years ago, the PSNI launched a new investigation into the bombing, but still none of the people responsible have been made accountable.

Gault has been campaigning for years to get justice for his family and for the many other victims of violence during the Troubles.

Niall Carson / PA Stephen Gault in the Ely Centre in Enniskillen on the 25th anniversary. Niall Carson / PA / PA

“The hard thing is walking up the street seeing people I know who would have had connections to terrorism in the past and you’re left carrying that on your shoulders,” he said. “We have this so-called peace in the north but at what cost? Secret deals have been done and the government has let down the victims for the sake of peace.

People like me and others affected by these atrocities deserve the justice and truth and closure. ”

Read: Probe into Enniskillen bombing launched>

PHOTOS: Enda Kenny lays wreath at Remembrance Day ceremony in Enniskillen>

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