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Tribute to Herron family slain by IRA incendiary device unveiled at Dromore Orange Hall

Published 07/04/2016

Joy Bingham on her wedding day with her father William, who died alongside her mum and sister in IRA attack
Joy Bingham on her wedding day with her father William, who died alongside her mum and sister in IRA attack
From left: Rev Nigel Reid, John Henry, Archie Reaney, Orange Grand Master Edward Stevenson, Deputy Grand Master Harold Henning, William Reaney, Berry Reaney and Stephen Kennedy at last night's memorial service to mark the 40th anniversary of the Tullyvallen massacre
Brethren arriving for the service

A memorial in honour of a Dromore family murdered by the IRA will "perpetuate" their memory for future generations, a close relative has said.

Carol Mackey paid tribute to her parents and sister during a special memorial service on Thursday evening to mark the 40th anniversary of a fire bomb attack, which stunned the Co Down town.

William Herron (64), his wife Elizabeth (58) and daughter Noeline (27) died in the blaze after an incendiary device was planted in their Market Square drapery store in April 1976.

The fire destroyed much of the shop and the family home above it, where the three victims died from suffocation.

Speaking at the dedication of a granite memorial stone at Dromore Orange Hall, Mrs Mackey paid a poignant tribute to her deceased relatives.

She said: "Everything changed for our family on the morning of Wednesday 7 April – the saddest day of our lives.

"The immoral and senseless actions of a number of individuals, who one could only describe as terrorists, resulted in the murder of our much loved parents and sister.

"Dromore came to standstill for their funeral. Many friends and neighbours were struggling to accept the shocking truth, that terrorists had callously taken a family from their midst, without any warning."

She said the “obscene crime” deprived her parents and sister from fulfilling their lives, including spending cherished time with their family and future grandchildren.

"Family was so important to our parents, who were the perfect role models for us as we grew up. Our memories of them are precious.

Tullyvallen Orange Hall
Tullyvallen Orange Hall

"We hope this tablet will show how much the family appreciate the respect, kindness and support shown to them over the years. Its dedication reminds us of the strength of their faith, and will perpetuate the memory of the Herron family for future generations.”

Mr Herron was closely associated with the Loyal Orders as a member of Closkelt LOL 415 and Closkelt RBP 449. The latter’s banner pays tribute to the late draper.

The leaders of both the Loyal Orange and Royal Black Institutions participated in the memorial service.

Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, Edward Stevenson, said: "The sheer awfulness of the Herron family atrocity caused shockwaves not only in Dromore but right across Northern Ireland and further afield."

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