Terrorism victims deserve better, daughter says on anniversary of father’s death

Victims of terrorism “deserve so much better”, the daughter of a man killed in a bomb attack in Co Fermanagh 50 years ago has said.

Joseph Calvin, a 51-year-old council worker and part-time police officer, was killed when a bomb went off under his car in Enniskillen on November 17, 1972.

The bomb had been planted while he was at work.

His funeral attracted crowds of mourners who filled the town.

Victims of terrorism
Joseph Calvin with his wife Annie on their wedding day (Ann Simpson/PA)

His only child, Ann Simpson, said her mother Annie was broken by his death, and shortly after had a stroke.

“She lost her speech and ability to walk, those were very difficult and challenging years,” she said.

“Mum then passed away in 1984, I was left without parents and I still hadn’t turned 30 years old myself.”

No-one has ever been convicted over Mr Calvin’s death.

Ms Simpson said over the years she has tried not to be “consumed with my grief and instead live life as my parents would have wanted”.

Victims of terrorism
Joseph Calvin with his daughter Ann ((Ann Simpson/PA)

“However, alike so many others who have shared this type of experience, I am finding it ever challenging to do so,” she said.

“Terrorism appears to have been rewarded at every turn and those they victimised are an uncomfortable sore for the establishment to have to deal with.

“It saddens me that so many who have terror backgrounds have secured so much political power and daily they and their apologists gloat. That is not right and we all deserve so much better.”

She described her father as an “incredibly special man”.

“He was everything you could wish for in a father and when he was stolen away from us, it devastated our lives; he was aged just 51 years and I was in mid-teens aged just 16,” she said.

Victims of terrorism
Joseph Calvin with his wife Annie (Ann Simpson/PA)

“Because I was an only child I was the apple in my daddy’s eye and he took me everywhere with him, we used to go on family holidays together where we made so many special memories, the last holiday we enjoyed together was actually to the Isle of Man.”

She described her father as having a passion for football, particularly following the Northern Ireland team and Manchester United, as well as showing whippets, gardening, growing roses and tending to the greenhouse.

Ms Simpson said her father was a public health inspector for the local council as well as serving the community part time in the B-specials, Ulster Defence Regiment and as an RUC reservist.

“He took these roles seriously and strongly felt convicted to play his part in supporting and protecting the community from the threat posed by terrorism,” she said.

“My dad was a very fair man and never judged someone by their background, he was proud of his own identity and who he was, having membership of the Loyal Orders (Orange and Black) but he always instilled the need for respect and tolerance of others.

Victims of terrorism
The funeral of Joseph Calvin in Enniskillen (Ann Simpson/PA)

“We attended St Macartin’s Cathedral which is where dad’s funeral took place, a massive funeral which brought Enniskillen to a standstill.”

Kenny Donaldson, South East Fermanagh Foundation’s director of services, said Mr Calvin was “highly respected within County Fermanagh and beyond”.

“He was very much a people’s person and over the years we have heard many positive reflections of his life and the type of man that he was,” he said.

“Because of the cruel actions of terrorism, Joe’s widow Annie passed away early and his daughter Ann was left without parents, without that crucial support, Ann was unable to have her dad walk her down the aisle when she got married and she was unable to witness the joy of grandparents as her own children were born.

“There was no justification for the murder of Joe, he was a hard working man who did his best to provide for his family and to contribute to the community, our prayers and support remain with Ann and the wider Calvin family circle.”