Police Find Second Bomb Near Site of Fatal Explosion
Nov. 11, 1987
ENNISKILLEN, Northern Ireland (AP) _ Police discovered a 150-pound bomb Tuesday a short distance from the site of an explosion claimed by the Irish Republican Army that killed 11 people last weekend.
The bomb found Tuesday was apparently scheduled to go off Sunday, but it never exploded, said police headquarters in Belfast. It was hidden in a hedge at the assembly point for a war memorial service held Sunday near the Tullyhommon Methodist Church.
Police said the second bomb proved that the IRA was lying when it claimed a bomb attack Sunday that killed 11 civilians and injured another 63 people gathered for a Remembrance Day service at Enniskillen was a ''mistake.''
The bomb found Tuesday was about 18 miles from Enniskillen. It was safely defused.
''This second bomb is a clear indication that the Enniskillen incident was not an isolated one,'' the Belfast police statement said.
''The bomb was placed in a position where, had it exploded, it could have killed and seriously injured more innocent people. Any attempt by the Provisional IRA to excuse their premeditated deadly intent should be treated with the contempt it deserves.''
The IRA had reported that a second bomb failed to go off Sunday. The group claimed three soldiers were standing beside the device when IRA members tried but failed to set it off.
Hundreds of Roman Catholics joined Protestant mourners Tuesday as grief- stricken residents of Enniskillen buried three victims of Sunday's bombing.
Ministers urged forgiveness but also condemned the ''barbarism'' of the terrorists who planted the bomb.
A wave of denunciations of the outlawed IRA and its legal political wing, Sinn Fein, followed the bombing.
But the politics and tensions of Northern Ireland seemed distant from the ecumenical outpouring that surrounded the first burials in Enniskillen, a town of 13,000.
The Methodist Church of victim Marie Wilson, a 20-year-old nurse, overflowed with more than 1,000 mourners, including Catholic priests. Miss Wilson was the youngest victim. Her father, Gordon Wilson, was there with his arm in a sling, a result of injuries he suffered in the blast.
Wilson has said in an interview that his daughter's last words were ''Daddy, I love you very much.'' Wilson has also said that he and his wife, Joan, bear no grudge.
Many in the congregation wept as the Rev. Thomas Magowan said: ''I saw the spirit of Marie Wilson in the wave of compassion and practical caring that crossed over the religious divide as a shattered community came closer together in love and succor for the bereaved and injured.''
Schools and businesses closed for the funerals. Police and British troops kept strict security, checking cars entering the town and using dogs trained to sniff out explosives.
As the throng followed Miss Wilson's hearse from the hilltop church to the cemetery, under gray and windy skies, several mourners sought out reporters to say that Catholics and Protestants were about equally represented in the cortege.
At the Anglican funeral of Samuel Gault, a 49-year-old retired policeman, the Rev. John McCarthy denounced the IRA and said some local Sinn Fein elected councilmen ''are strangely inhibited to utter any words of condemnation.''
McCarthy said Catholics should ''remember that a vote for Sinn Fein is a vote for violence and for bitterness and for barbarism.''
A full police funeral was held Tuesday in Enniskellen for police reservist Ted Armstrong, 52, who was on sick leave when he was killed.
The other eight victims are to be buried Wednesday and Thursday.
The IRA is fighting to drive the British out of Northern Ireland and unite the Protestant-dominated province with the overwhelmingly Catholic Irish Republic.
In Belfast on Tuesday, police said a Protestant killed in an apparent revenge attack for the bombing was a victim of mistaken identity. They said Protestant gunmen who killed 19-year-old Brian Adam Lambert apparently believed he was a Catholic.
In London, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher condemned Sinn Fein politicians who support violence.
The U.S. Embassy in London on Tuesday released a letter of condolence from President Reagan to Mrs. Thatcher.
''The American people join you in the revulsion I know is felt throughout the United Kingdom,'' the president wrote.