Updated: 01/02/17 : 05:58:12
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Activist calls for Sligo footbridge naming

A Sligo activist is calling on local councillors to name the footbridge over the Garavogue River in Sligo Town after Gordon Wilson whose daughter Marie was killed by an IRA bomb at Enniskillen's Remembrance Day parade in 1987. 

Mr Wilson, a draper in Enniskillen, born in Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim, went onto capture the hearts of all right thinking people when he stated only hours after this atrocity "I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge"

In 1993 Wilson accepted an invitation to become a member of Seanad Éireann (Irish Senate) on the nomination of the then Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds.

Gary Smylie, who is promoting the bridge naming told Sligo Today, "This could send out the message that Sligo and its people stand against war and violence, both on our door step and also the far corners of the world.

"This could be in our own small way in Sligo to build bridges, not walls."

Mr Smylie added that he already has support for the idea from a significant number of people.

                                      Gordon Wilson during his BBC interview

In an interview with the BBC, Gordon Wilson, who died in 1995, described with anguish his last conversation with his daughter, a nurse, and his feelings toward her killers: "She held my hand tightly, and gripped me as hard as she could. She said, 'Daddy, I love you very much.' Those were her exact words to me, and those were the last words I ever heard her say."

To the astonishment of listeners, Wilson went on to add, "But I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge. Dirty sort of talk is not going to bring her back to life. She was a great wee lassie. She loved her profession. She was a pet. She's dead. She's in heaven and we shall meet again. I will pray for these men tonight and every night."

As historian Jonathan Bardon recounted, "No words in more than twenty-five years of violence in Northern Ireland had such a powerful, emotional impact."