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Victims' support group vows families bereaved during Troubles will not be forgotten during lockdown

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Murdered: officer Richard Fallon

Murdered: officer Richard Fallon

Murdered: officer Richard Fallon

A victims' support group has vowed that families bereaved during the Troubles will not be forgotten, despite the strict conditions around social gathering caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF), based in Lisnaskea, has come up with a novel approach to ensure families can still have their time of reflection for those killed as a result of terrorism.

The first alternative service of remembrance was held yesterday to remember Garda officer Richard Fallon, the first victim of the Troubles murdered in the Republic of Ireland, on the 50th anniversary of his death.

Garda Fallon was shot on Arran Quay in Dublin during a bank robbery by members of Saor Eire, a republican terrorist group.

The 43-year-old's murder sparked outrage and O'Connell Street was lined with mourners for his funeral.

Half a century on, a ceremony had been planned with the unveiling of a plaque to mark the 50th anniversary of his murder. However, due to the coronavirus crisis, it was postponed.

The anniversary was instead marked by a short service, live-streamed by SEFF.

SEFF director of services Kenny Donaldson said: "Over this period of challenge all of our lives have been impacted to a greater or lesser degree as a consequence of Covid-19 and the associated restrictions. Victims also face challenge.

"The wish to commemorate and remember loved ones is a human need and with places of worship closed to such services and opportunities we felt it appropriate to develop an alternative way for families and the wider community to continue to practice remembrance, giving thanks for lives well lived.

"We approached Rev Alan Irwin, who himself is a victim and survivor having had his father Thomas and Uncle Fred murdered by Provisional IRA terrorists. We have agreed a formula whereby Rev Irwin would facilitate a short service of tribute within SEFF offices, needing just one other person to be present to record proceedings, and using testimony provided by the family and which would be live-streamed on the day of the loved one's anniversary."

Belfast Telegraph