Belfast Telegraph

Tributes to RUC man Brian Maguire who gave help to others in their 'darkest moments'

Valiant service: Brian Maguire
Valiant service: Brian Maguire
Brett Campbell

By Brett Campbell

Tributes have been paid to an RUC veteran who helped victims of the Troubles "in their darkest moments" after he died on Monday morning.

Brian Lynn Maguire (83), who was awarded an MBE in recognition of a policing career which spanned 30 years, passed away at his home in Omagh following a short illness.

Last night his friend and former colleague Richard Scott said that Mr Maguire "was always at the forefront of helping people in their darkest moments" and would be sorely missed.

"Brian was a founding member of the Omagh Voluntary Welfare Committee and helped countless widows and families of murdered officers," he said.

"His forte was looking after people."

Mr Scott, who is the chairman of the west Tyrone branch of Military and Police Support (MAPS), described Mr Maguire as someone who was more than a just a friend.

"He was a mentor and he was instrumental in so much of the work that we do," he said.

"Brian and his wife really inspired the work we started here.

"He stayed in the organisation he helped get up and running, but MAPS was really his brain child."

The organisation, which is a recipient of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, provides a range of help for ex-members of the military, police and prison service.

It is also led by Margo Heatherington, who is the daughter of an RUC reservist and father-of-three who was shot dead outside Castlederg RUC station on July 4, 1978.

Jacob Rankin (37) was murdered as he walked to a shop to buy newspapers for the base, as was his daily routine.

"Brian was straight round to Margo's door when that happened," Mr Scott recalled.

"He did everything to make sure the family was supported and looked after, but he didn't just do it once.

"He went above and beyond for anyone who found themselves in such terrible circumstances."

Upon his retirement from frontline service Mr Maguire took up a civilian role within communications and he was on duty on August 15, 1998 when a Real IRA bomb explosion ripped his town apart.

Mr Scott, an off-duty police officer who rushed to the scene following the explosion, was left traumatised by the events of that day.

"Brian took me under his wing," he said.

"He knew what people were going through and he encouraged me to work with and for other victims.

"Our work is his legacy and it will continue."

Mr Maguire's wife Ethel passed away around six years ago.

The late secretary of the RUC George Cross Foundation's Omagh branch is survived by his sister Matsie.

"She is devastated, but she is very proud of his achievements," Mr Scott said.

A service of thanksgiving will take place in St Columbus Parish Church at 12pm tomorrow.

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