From The BBC: Age Of Terror - Ten Days Of Terror

7:10pm Thursday, August 27 on TVNZ 7

Whilst political violence has always been with us, in the late 1960’s it came of age. Terrorists, realising the power of the media, began to hijack planes and target civilians. The Age of Terror was born.

In 1987, a bomb exploded without warning in the Fermanagh town of Enniskillen. The device was timed to detonate during the annual Poppy Day ceremony, at which the Ulster Defence Regiment would be on parade. An emotionally potent day in the Northern Irish Protestant calendar, the ceremony had also attracted a large number of civilians.

At the time, Gerry Adams was trying to coax the Republicans into political eng
agement with the British government, to explore the political path to power. Every dead civilian would endanger his strategy.
When the bomb exploded in Enniskillen, a wall collapsed on to the gathering crowd. Eleven people died in the rubble and chaos.

They were all Protestant civilians, many elderly women. The IRA claimed the operation was a mistake. But this was a desecration for which there could be no acceptable apology. With revulsion around the world, Gerry Adams’s strategy for political engagement appeared to have been dealt a death blow.

And when a ship carrying a huge arsenal of arms was intercepted in French waters, travelling from Libya to Ireland, Adams’s cause was set back even further. Gerry Adams insisted that the IRA could not kill civilians and expect to sustain support for their cause. The events of one week pushed Northern Ireland toward the peace process.

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