10 April 2006

Gordon Wilson's wife talks about her family's bond with the McGoldricks

Belfast Telegraph

By Alf McCreary
10 April 2006

The widow of a man who forgave the bombers who killed their daughter in the Enniskillen bomb last night paid tribute to another forgiving father.

Joan Wilson's daughter Marie, a student nurse aged 20, was one of 11 civilians who died in the Remembrance Day explosion in Enniskillen in November 1987. Many others were badly injured, including Marie's father, the late Senator Gordon Wilson.

She has paid tribute to the late Michael McGoldrick whose only son - also called Michael - was murdered by the LVF. Michael Snr died this week in Moldova where he was working with his charity United Christian Aid.

Senator Wilson made international headlines when he said that he bore "no ill-will" to his daughter's killers and, with the support of his wife Joan, he became a leading peace campaigner who confronted the IRA face to face at a secret hide-out in Donegal.

Several years later, in 1996, Michael McGoldrick Snr also forgave those who had murdered his son and also embarked, with his wife Bridie, on working for better community relations and in helping the disadvantaged in Eastern Europe.

Mrs Wilson told the Belfast Telegraph: "When Michael and Bridie McGoldrick lost their son, I contacted them to express my sympathy, because Gordon and I had known the agony of losing a child through the Troubles. Gordon had died by this time, but I know that he would have gone to see the McGoldricks if he had been alive. I felt that it was my duty to go in his place."

Mrs Wilson and the McGoldricks became friends and, a few years ago, Michael addressed a group of Enniskillen women about his work for the poor in Eastern Europe.

This meeting had been organised by the Faith Friendship movement, which had been inspired earlier by Lady Mayhew, wife of Sir Patrick Mayhew, the then Secretary of State.

When Mr McGoldrick died last week, his widow Bridie phoned Mrs Wilson from her Craigavon home, and she came up from Enniskillen to be with her.

Mrs Wilson said: "I felt it was important to be there to help share personally in the family's great sorrow. Bridie talked about Michael's work and his travels, and how he had been blessed by so many people helping him.

"I remember Michael as a quiet sincere man, who bore no ill-will to anyone. He was a true Christian and I think that his example will live on. Michael and my late husband Gordon were the kind of men who used their talents and their energy to try to make the world a better place by helping others."

Some years ago, Mrs Wilson wrote a bereavement anthology titled All Shall Be Well, and Mr and Mrs McGoldrick attended the launch in The Spires Centre at the Presbyterian Church House in Belfast. Mr McGoldrick also spoke earlier this year at a one-day 'Prayer For Our Land' service in St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast.

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