Enniskillen bomb fire station tribute removal 'wrong'

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

The Fire and Rescue Service was wrong to remove a photographic tribute to those killed in the 1987 Enniskillen bombing, the NI Ombudsman has found.

A montage of photographs of victims of the IRA atrocity was taken down in the town's fire station following an anonymous complaint in September 2007.

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.

In his report he said: "I do not believe that an uncorroborated complaint alone from an anonymous caller was sufficient to warrant the literally immediate removal of a montage which had been on the wall for 19 years."

He said the tribute had been put up to mark "an incident that clearly had a major impact on the staff who had been involved directly in dealing with the awful aftermath".

"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."

The Fire and Rescue Service said it would not respond to the report until Tuesday.

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".

"The Ombudsman does not have the power to order the Fire Service to put the photographs back up because it was a discretionary decision," she said.

"It is important that the Fire Service listens to this report and also to the community who were very hurt at the time.

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

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