Fire Service apology over Enniskillen tribute removal

Enniskillen bomb photo montage
Image caption The report centred on a montage commemorating the Enniskillen bomb

Northern Ireland's top fire officer has issued an apology over the decision to remove a photographic tribute to those killed in the 1987 Enniskillen bombing.

On Monday, the Northern Ireland Ombudsmen found the the Fire and Rescue Service was wrong to remove it from the town's fire station.

The montage of photographs of victims of the IRA atrocity was taken down following a complaint in 2007.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Louis Jones said he was sorry for any hurt caused.

A statement from the Fire Service said it would consider the Ombudsman's report.

"It was never our intention to cause any distress in relation to this sensitive matter, nor to diminish the devastation caused by the bomb and its impact on those directly affected and the wider community," said the statement.

Ombudsman Tom Frawley found no officers at the station were consulted and the action was ill-considered.

He said the decision-making process was "attended by maladministration".

The Ombudsman began his investigation following a complaint from a member of the public in February 2008.

"There appears to have been no consideration given to the workforce as a whole in respect of this specific complaint.

"In this sensitive manner, I find such action to have been ill-considered and not appropriate to the circumstance."

DUP assembly member Arlene Foster, who helped a constituent to file an official complaint with the Ombudsman, said it was "quite bizarre" that the montage was taken down on the basis of "an uncorroborated phone call".

"We will be asking that the original montage goes back up again," she said.

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