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Legacy of the slain will live on

By Kenny Donaldson

Published 02/09/2015

Tullyvallen Orange Hall
Tullyvallen Orange Hall

Innocent Victims United's thoughts and prayers are with the Tullyvallen massacre families in the week of the 40th anniversary of the atrocity. We also remember all those 40-year anniversaries of terrorist atrocities which are taking place in south Armagh over the next number of months. We especially think this week of the families of William Herron, John Johnston, James McKee, William McKee and Nevin McConnell.

As a child and teenager, I attended Tullyvallen Youth Club, so I knew the story of Tullyvallen from an early age. I often sat at the very table which Orange Lodge members threw on its side to shield themselves from the gunfire.

Too often, people can become almost immune, or dismissive, of what went on over the years of the terror campaign. We must, as a society, never forget, or excuse, the willingness of some to dehumanise their neighbour to the point of taking their life.

I am a proud south Armagh man and I am heartened at the resolve of the Tullyvallen people, who have picked themselves up post that horror and have created a thriving community.

Tullyvallen Rangers Football Club, the high-performing Cortamlet Primary School and other community-based initiatives within the area prove the resolve of the minority Protestant community to remain within an area that is precious to them and which is their home.

There are many within the Roman Catholic community who have graciously embraced this resolve and are committed to supporting their Protestant neighbours.

Yes, there are others from within the republican community who still believe that the minority community do not belong in south Armagh and in other border areas, but they will have to accept that the minority community haven't gone away - and aren't going away.

The legacy of those slain that night in that Orange Hall - and in other parts of our troubled land - lives on within those left behind.

  • Kenny Donaldson is spokesman for Innocent Victims United

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