Belfast Telegraph

Names of all victims of Troubles to be read out at Dublin service

By Stewart Robson

Former Deputy First Minister Seamus Mallon will address a Dublin church this afternoon at a special service marking the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Mallon is expected to tell the congregation at Dublin Unitarian Church of the importance of remembering all those who died both during the Troubles and after the 1998 peace deal.

It will be the 18th annual 'Reading of the Names' service to be held at the church and will see all of the nearly 3,600 names of those who died between 1966 and 2016 read out.

The last name to be read will be Adrian Ismay. The 52-year-old prison officer died from a suspected heart attack in March 2016 - 12 days after a car bomb planted by dissident republicans exploded underneath his van.

Today's service will begin at noon and the reading of the names is expected to last three hours, with each name read out by members of the congregation.

Church minister Rev Bridget Spain spoke of the service's importance and significance over almost two decades.

"It really is a moving ceremony. We feel it is important to hold the ceremony this year because of the uncertainty in the politics in Northern Ireland," she said.

"I hope that it will highlight the fact that those who worked so hard to establish peace in Northern Ireland are becoming worried by the political stalemate."

Andy Pollak, a former director for the Centre of Cross Border Studies in Armagh, said the service was a chance to help move the peace progress forward and end the political stalemate.

Mr Pollak said: "This service was the idea of Chris Hudson, a Dublin Unitarian Church member, and then a Dublin-based trade unionist who had acted as an intermediary between the Irish Government and loyalist groups in the run-up to the 1994 ceasefires and the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

"As part of an all-Ireland denomination (the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church of Ireland), we felt we wanted to do something to remember all those who had died in the Northern Ireland Troubles."

Mr Hudson is currently the minister at the Non-Subscribing Presbyterian Church on Elmwood Avenue in south Belfast.

Mr Mallon served alongside former First Minister David Trimble for three years in the first post-Agreement Executive.

Belfast Telegraph

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