Lack of funding hits plan for memorial to security forces
An ambitious plan to erect a permanent memorial to security forces personnel killed during the Troubles in Armagh is in doubt over funding concerns.
The Co Armagh Phoenix Group still needs to raise £39,000 towards the £80,000 cost of erecting a special wall in the grounds of St Mark's Church in the city.
It has taken the group more than five years to secure planning permission for the project, which if completed will serve as a tribute to the 350 men and women from Co Armagh killed while serving in the RUC, UDR and Prison Service.
The Phoenix Group charity was formed in 2007 to support ex-members of the security services and their families who were victims of terrorism in Armagh.
The group has more than 800 members drawn from Co Armagh RUC GC, police welfare associations from Armagh, Lurgan and Newry and Mourne, 2 UDR Association, the Armagh Association Voluntary Welfare Group, the Association of Retired Prison Officers and Richhill Royal British Legion.
Ronnie Quigg from Warringstown, who served in the RUC for 35 years and who is chair of the memorial fundraising group, said: "With so many illegal memorials being erected in south Armagh and recently in Lurgan, we decided it would be nice to have a legal one to mark the sacrifice of security force personnel.
"Armagh had a higher percentage rate per population killed than anywhere else in Northern Ireland, and we felt that we needed something to remember people with.
"The wall will contain the names of all security forces personnel who were murdered in County Armagh or who were born in County Armagh and murdered elsewhere during periods of trouble right from the formation of Northern Ireland in 1922 until the end of Operation Banner in 2007.
"We have raised £41,000 and we know that the next £39,000 is going to be the hardest, so we really need the public to get behind us and help us raise this money."
The group has secured permission to erect the memorial wall close to the cemetery in the grounds of St Mark's Church of Ireland in Armagh.
"When it is finished, we hope that it will be a place to reflect and remember the supreme sacrifice made by those persons whose names will be engraved upon it," Mr Quigg told the Belfast Telegraph.
"We hope it will leave a lasting memorial that is fitting for families, relatives, ex-colleagues and friends of those brave members of the security forces who were murdered in the execution of their duty.
"We have put out leaflets to different organisations asking them to help with fundraising, and we hope people will get behind us and help to ensure these people are remembered."
- You can support the memorial campaign by visiting the website www.armaghmemorial.org