Gordon Wilson on the loss of his daughter (1987)

In November 1987 Gordon Wilson and his daughter Marie, 20, were attending a Remembrance Day service in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh. The pair were buried under rubble by a bomb detonated by the Provisional IRA. Wilson survived but Marie died from her injuries. Later, Gordon Wilson spoke to the media, expressing grief for his daughter and a measure of forgiveness for those who took her life:

“We were both thrown forward, rubble and stones and whatever in and around and over us and under us. I was aware of a pain in my right shoulder. I shouted to Marie was she all right and she said yes, she found my hand and said, “Is that your hand, dad?”

Now remember we were under six foot of rubble. I said “Are you all right?” and she said yes, but she was shouting in between. Three of four times I asked her, and she always said yes, she was all right. When I asked her the fifth time, “Are you all right, Marie?” she said, “Daddy, I love you very much.” Those were the last words she spoke to me.

She still held my hand quite firmly and I kept shouting at her, “Marie, are you all right?” but there wasn’t a reply. We were there about five minutes. Someone came and pulled me out. I said, “I’m all right but for God’s sake my daughter is lying right beside me and I don’t think she is too well.” She’s dead. She didn’t die there. She died later.

The hospital was magnificent, truly impressive, and our friends have been great. But I miss my daughter, and we shall miss her, but I bear no ill will, I bear no grudge. She was a great wee lassie. She loved her profession. She was a pet and she’s dead. She’s in heaven and we will meet again.

Don’t ask me please for a purpose. I don’t have a purpose. I don’t have an answer. But I know there has to be a plan. If I didn’t think that, I would commit suicide. It’s part of a greater plan – and God is good. And we shall meet again.

I have lost my daughter, and we shall miss her. But I bear no ill will. I bear no grudge. Dirty sort of talk is not going to bring her back to life. I shall pray for those people [the IRA bombers] tonight and every night. May God forgive them.”