DUBLIN UNITARIAN CHURCH WILL HOLD TWO GOOD FRIDAY COMMEMORATIVE SERVICES THIS YEAR

1.TO COMMEMORATE ALL THOSE WHO DIED IN IRELAND IN EASTER WEEK 1916
2.TO COMMEMORATE ALL THOSE WHO DIED IN THE NORTHERN IRELAND CONFLICT

This Good Friday (25th March) Dublin Unitarian Church in St Stephen’s Green will hold separate services to commemorate the dead of two conflicts in Ireland.

At 11.15 am members of the congregation and members of the public will read from the pulpit the names of all 482 people – volunteers, civilians, soldiers and policemen – who died in Ireland in Easter Week 1916 and after.

At 12.00 midday members of the congregation and members of the public will read the names of the more than 3,500 people who have died as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland, ending with the Belfast prison officer who died last week from injuries received in a car bomb attack.

Members of the public are warmly welcomed to attend both these ceremonies. People wishing to hear the readings are welcome at any time between 11.15am and 3pm, and can drop in and out as they please. If anybody wishes to join the list of readers, please contact Rev Bridget Spain (contact details below).

Among the readers this year will be the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Councillor Críona Ní Dhálaigh; the president of the Royal Irish Academy, Professor Mary Daly; the provost of Trinity College Dublin, Professor Patrick Prendergast; the broadcaster Joe Duffy, who has written a book on the children killed in Easter Week; and members of the Justice for the Forgotten group.

This double act of commemoration is the only religious service of its kind in Ireland. This will be the 16th year of the ‘reading of the names’ service for all those who died in the Northern Ireland conflict, starting with John Patrick Scullion, a Catholic storeman shot by the UVF in West Belfast in 1966, and ending with Adrian Ismay, the East Belfast prison officer who died last week from injuries caused by a car bomb claimed by the so-called New IRA.

These readings illustrate powerfully the terrible, random nature of death in war and civil conflict. All human life and death is in these mournful lists: Irish volunteers, British soldiers, IRA members, loyalist paramilitaries, Irish and Ulster 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 Minister of the Dublin Unitarian Church, Rev Bridget Spain, will introduce both services and end each with a prayer for the dead.

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