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Reflective space set aside in Belfast church to remember virus victims

Father Anthony Devlin said his parish wants the families of the hundreds who have died in Northern Ireland to know that people are thinking of them.

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A space has been set aside at St Paul’s Church in Belfast in remembrance of those who have died of Covid-19 and frontline workers helping to deal with the pandemic (Liam McBurney/PA)

A space has been set aside at St Paul’s Church in Belfast in remembrance of those who have died of Covid-19 and frontline workers helping to deal with the pandemic (Liam McBurney/PA)

A space has been set aside at St Paul’s Church in Belfast in remembrance of those who have died of Covid-19 and frontline workers helping to deal with the pandemic (Liam McBurney/PA)

A church close to one of Belfast’s largest hospitals has created a space to remember those who have died with the coronavirus.

St Paul’s Church is just yards away from the Royal Victoria Hospital on the Falls Road.

The number of people who have died after testing positive for Covid-19 in Northern Ireland stood at 514 on Monday.

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Unveiling of two posters in recognition to those who have died of Covid-19 and those front line workers helping to deal with the pandemic at Prayer before a Crucifix statue at St Paul’s Church on the Falls Road in Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 26, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Ulster. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Unveiling of two posters in recognition to those who have died of Covid-19 and those front line workers helping to deal with the pandemic at Prayer before a Crucifix statue at St Paul’s Church on the Falls Road in Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 26, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Ulster. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

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Unveiling of two posters in recognition to those who have died of Covid-19 and those front line workers helping to deal with the pandemic at Prayer before a Crucifix statue at St Paul’s Church on the Falls Road in Belfast. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Tuesday May 26, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Ulster. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

The majority of these deaths – 158 – have been in Belfast, according to Department of Health figures.

First Minister Arlene Foster and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill are to consider installing a memorial to virus victims after the pandemic following a suggestion by Sinn Fein MLA Pat Sheehan.

Father Anthony Devlin, of St Paul’s Church, said his parish wanted to have a place where they can be remembered in the interim.

“It came from the families of the parish who are mourning relatives or friends who have died with Covid,” he told the PA news agency.

This is something immediate so that families know there is a spot where there are people passing every day thinking about themFather Anthony Devlin

“We haven’t been able to mourn at this time as we normally would so we want to let those people know that even now we are still thinking about them and we will think about them.

“This is a place set aside to remember those who died. We know in time Stormont will probably make memorials for this period, but this is something immediate so that families know there is a spot where there are people passing every day thinking about them.”

PA