An Alliance councillor who was one of the first police officers to be shot by the IRA during the Troubles has been laid to rest.
Addressing mourners at the funeral of Barney Fitzpatrick in St Mary's Star of the Sea Church in Portstewart yesterday, Fr Austin McGirr said it had been his dream to be a policeman. "He always wanted to join the police and in 1967 joined the Lanarkshire constabulary," he said.
"He transferred to the RUC in 1969 - in 1971 he survived a gun attack when two of his colleagues sadly lost their lives. He served in Belfast and was a sergeant in the Bomb Transit Unit for two years until he was promoted to inspector and transferred to Coleraine."
The former chief superintendent's policing career spanned almost 38 years before he was elected to Coleraine council in 2006. He was later elected to the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council.
Fr McGirr described the dedicated public servant who passed away peacefully in hospital on Saturday as a man with "quick wit" and a gift for bringing people together.
He said: "The family could have chosen many scripture passages for the Requiem Mass including Matthew 5, 'Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice for they shall be satisfied ... Their reward will be great in heaven".