Today Dublin Unitarian Church on St Stephen’s Green will hold its 19th annual service to commemorate all those who have died in the conflict in Northern Ireland. This service takes place a day after a young journalist, Lyra McKee, was shot dead in a riot in Derry.
At 12.00 midday members of the congregation and members of the public will begin to read the names of the nearly 3,600 people who died as a result of the conflict in Northern Ireland between 1966 and 2016. The reading of the names will continue until approximately 3 pm.
Members of the public are warmly welcomed to attend this ceremony. People wishing to hear the readings are welcome at any time between 12 midday 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 act of commemoration is the only religious service of its kind in Ireland. This will be the nineteenth year of the ‘reading of the names’ service for all those who died in and because of the Northern Ireland conflict, starting with John Patrick Scullion, a Catholic storeman shot by the UVF in West Belfast in 1966, and ending with Lyra McKee, the young journalist shot dead during a riot in Derry yesterday. It is particularly timely this year because of the increasing fragility of the peace process in the North after Brexit.
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: British soldiers, IRA members, loyalist paramilitaries, Ulster policemen and women, gardaí, part-time UDR men, prison officers, civil rights marchers, judges, businessmen, farmers, factory workers, 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 buses and trains; and walking and shopping and visiting in London and Birmingham, Dublin and Monaghan, Belfast and Derry and Banbridge and Omagh and scores of other Northern Irish towns and villages.
The Minister of the Dublin Unitarian Church, Rev Bridget Spain, will begin and end the service with a prayer.