Justice Minister Naomi Long today attended the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) Annual Memorial Service to remember officers who lost their lives in the course of duty.
Minister Long said: “The annual Memorial Service is an important occasion for everyone associated with the Prison Service. It is an opportunity for us all to reflect and to remember all Prison Service staff killed while serving our community. It is a time to reflect on the contribution they made, and also a time to remember their families and loved ones who are left behind.
“I consider it to be a privilege to be able to attend today’s service along with the widows and close relatives of Prison Service staff who lost their lives in the line of duty. They carry their suffering, pain and loss with tremendous dignity.”
“It is also a time to recognise the work our prison staff have done to support people in our care, particularly over the past 20 months of the pandemic. In doing so we especially remember the prison officer who lost his life to covid-19 earlier this year.”
During the service, conducted by Prison Service chaplains, Minister Long laid the first wreath at the Memorial Stone with the Director General Ronnie Armour laying a wreath on behalf of the Northern Ireland Prison Service.
The Minister commended the Central Benevolent Fund (CBF) who organised today’s Memorial Service ensuring their lost colleagues have not been forgotten.
A two-minute silence was observed, after which the names of the 32 Prison Service personnel who lost their lives were read out by former NIPS Director of Operations Max Murray.
Ronnie Armour, Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service said: “We remember with pride our friends and colleagues, and the contribution they made to the Northern Ireland Prison Service and the wider community.
“I am particularly pleased that our friends from the Irish Prison Service, including the Director General Caron McCaffrey, are with us today for the special occasion in the Prison Service calendar.”
Wreaths were also laid by representatives of the bereaved widows, The Central Benevolent Fund, The Prison Officers’ Association, The Prison Governors’ Association, NI Public Sector Alliance, The Retired Prison Officers’ Fellowship, families of the bereaved and the Irish Prison Service.
Notes to editors:
- The NIPS memorial stone contains the names of the men and women of the Northern Ireland Prison Service who were murdered by terrorists. The first, Officer R Walker, died in 1942; the most recent, Senior Officer Adrian Ismay, was killed in March 2016.
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