Belfast Telegraph

Memorial unveiled to family killed by IRA firebomb

By Cate McCurry

A memorial to three members of the same family killed by an IRA firebomb has been unveiled at Dromore Orange Hall.

William Herron (64) died with wife Elizabeth (58) and daughter Noeline (27) in a blaze that engulfed their Dromore drapery store and home above it.

The tribute was unveiled in the town yesterday evening, the 40th anniversary of the atrocity.

Mr Herron was closely associated with the loyal orders, and Closkelt Royal Black Preceptory's banner bears his image.

His daughter, Carol Mackey, paid tribute to her parents and sister during a memorial service to mark the anniversary.

Speaking at the dedication of a granite memorial stone at Dromore Orange Hall, Mrs Mackey said "everything changed" for the family in April 1976.

"It was the saddest day of our lives," she added. "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 a 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 also told how the "obscene crime" deprived her parents and her 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," Mrs Mackey added. "Our memories of them are precious.

"We hope this tablet will show how much the family appreciate the respect, kindness and support that was 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."

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. Forty years may have since elapsed, but the passage of time will never conceal the barbarity of the republican perpetrators responsible and their heinous but ultimately futile campaign of violence.

"Mr Herron was one of more than 300 of our members murdered during the Troubles.

"As an Institution, we will always remember our murdered brethren and will always offer support to their families, who continue to live with the suffering and painful legacy inflicted by terrorism."

Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution, Millar Farr, added: "Sadly, many families with strong Order connections suffered grievously at the hands of terrorists. Tonight, we stand together in condemning those atrocities and the people who carried them out."

Three people, including two sisters, were jailed in relation to the 1976 attack.

However, in 1985, the two sisters were given early release by the then Northern Ireland Secretary of State Douglas Hurd under Royal Prerogative. The Herron family continues to fight for justice.

Belfast Telegraph

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