13TH ANNUAL UNITARIAN CHURCH SERVICE TO COMMEMORATE THE VICTIMS OF THE NORTHERN IRELAND CONFLICT TO BE OPENED BY THE TÁNAISTE

On Good Friday (29th March) at 12 midday the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Mr Eamon Gilmore TD, will open the Dublin Unitarian Church’s 13th annual service to commemorate the more than 3,500 people who have died as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland. This year also marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Unitarian Church on St Stephen’s Green. The Dublin Unitarians have strong connections with Robert Emmet and the United Irishmen.

Members of the public are warmly welcomed to attend this service, at which the names of all those who died in the Northern conflict are read from the pulpit. People wishing to hear the readings are welcome at any time between 12 and 3pm, and can drop in and out as they please. If anybody wishes to join the list of readers, please contact Rev Brigid Spain (contact details below).

This annual act of commemoration is the only religious service of its kind in Ireland. Starting at 12 midday, church members will solemnly read out the names of the dead. They will start alphabetically with Anthony Abbott, a soldier from Manchester shot dead by the IRA in Ardoyne in North Belfast in 1976, and at around 3 pm they will finish with William and Letitia Younger, an elderly Protestant man and his daughter, who were beaten, stabbed and shot by intruders in their home in Ligoniel in 1980. Chronologically, the sad litany will start in 1966 with John Patrick Scullion, a Catholic storeman shot by the UVF in Belfast, and will end 46 years later in November 2012 with the murder of prison officer David Black by dissident republicans.

This reading of names illustrates powerfully the terrible, random nature of death in war and civil conflict. All human life and death is in this mournful list: British soldiers, IRA volunteers, loyalist paramilitaries, policemen and women, gardaí, part-time UDR men, prison officers, civil rights marchers, judges, businessmen, farmers, taxi drivers, social workers, children of all ages, people killed walking home from the pub, while watching football on the television, while attending church; people killed on trains, out walking and shopping and visiting in London and Birmingham, Dublin and Monaghan, Belfast and Derry and Omagh and a score of other Northern Irish towns and villages. The litany will occasionally be interrupted by prayers or music.

Photographers are welcome.

Further details:

Rev Brigid Spain in Dublin at 01 838 8808 / 01 478 0638
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