Victim’s family attends ‘unity in remembrance’ service

FERMANAGH families were among those who attended a special Service of Christian Unity at St Columb’s Cathedral in Derry at the weekend, which aimed to bring victims and survivors from across the community together.
Fifty years on from what is often described as ‘the worst year of the Troubles’, the event was facilitated by the South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF). Director of services at the foundation, Kenny Donaldson, noted 1972 was “a truly brutal year” with almost 500 deaths and over 4,000 injured, and last Friday’s event went some way to showing these victims’ loved ones they had not been forgotten.
“We face into 30 years of 50th Anniversaries in the context of the events of the terrorist campaign/The Troubles and as an organisation we felt it important to offer leadership around these issues,” said Mr Donaldson.
“Assembled within the Cathedral on Friday night were innocents impacted by both republican and loyalist terror from across these islands.
“Others opted out from attending and that is deeply regrettable, we hope that a time may come when they will be willing to engage in wider communal remembrance, understanding the need to express solidarity with the loss and injustice experienced by their own neighbours.”
Among those at the event were family members of those who had died, including Eugene McVeigh, brother of Columba McVeigh, one of ‘The Disappeared’ who was abducted and murdered in 1975, and Richard Bell, the son of Robin Bell from Newtownbutler, an off-duty UDR member who was killed in an IRA ambush in 1972.
Mr Bell, whose father was just 21-years-old when he died, said the church service had been very important to their family.
“The Service was deeply important for my family, I felt that the experiences of our family and so many others were validated,” said Mr Bell, who read a prayer at the service.
“There was a lot of pain and unresolved injustice in that Church building but the Service was also uplifting and there was a real sense of Hope that ran through proceedings.
“It is important for my family that the Churches walk with us and beside us.”

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