Wilson, William Gordon

Methodist businessman, born at Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim on 25 September 1927. He was thrust into the limelight by the death of his daughter Marie in the 1987 IRA Remembrance Day bombing at Enniskillen. Her dying words as they lay together under six feet of rubble and his belief that peace and reconciliation were possible motivated the last eight years of his life. His own words of forgiveness, quoted in the Queen's Christmas broadcast that year, became a symbol of hope and in 1988 he received the World Methodist Peace Award. In 1993 he accepted a seat in the Irish Senate and that year made a personal appeal to the IRA. His son Peter's death in a car crash in 1994 struck a blow that hastened his own death. He died suddenly of a heart attack at Enniskillen on 27 June 1995.


'The hospital was magnificent, truly impressive, and our friends have been great, but 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. She was a great wee lassie. She loved her profession. She was a pet and she's dead. She's in Heaven, and we'll 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.'

Gordon Wilson, interviewed by Mike Gaston on Radio Ulster on the evening his daughter was killed, 8 November 1987

  • A. McCreary, Gordon Wilson: an ordinary hero (1996)


Entry written by: RPR
Category: Person
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