This Good Friday (22nd April) will see the 11th annual holding of a unique ceremony at Dublin’s Unitarian Church in St Stephen’s Green at which the names of the more than 3,500 people who have died as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland are read from the pulpit.

Members of the public are warmly welcomed to attend this ceremony. 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 Bridget 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 end 44 years later with Derry man Ciaran Doherty, killed in February 2010 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, 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. Occasionally the Minister, Rev Bridget Spain, will briefly interrupt the litany to say a short prayer.

Photographers are welcome.

Further details: Rev Bridget Spain in Dublin at 01838880/014780638 email hidden; JavaScript is required or Andy Pollak in Northern Ireland at 0771-5042122 email hidden; JavaScript is required

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