32 prison staff killed in ser­vice are re­mem­bered

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS | FALLEN REMEMBERED - BY RE­BECCA BLACK BY JAMES GANT

WREATHS have been laid in mem­ory of prison of­fi­cers in wholost­their­livesinthe­course of duty.

Some 32 mem­bers of the North­ern Ire­land Prison Ser­vice were re­mem­bered dur­ing the ser­vice at the me­mo­rial gar­den at Hy­de­bank Wood in Belfast yes­ter­day.

Ernie Smyth was among those who laid wreaths at the me­mo­rial stone.

He is the long­est serv­ing uni­formed mem­ber of the Prison Ser­vice with al­most 40 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence.

Both­male­and­fe­male prison of­fi­cers are among the 32 who died.

They in­clude 52-year-old Adrian Is­may (top), who died fol­low­ing a dis­si­dent repub­li­can booby-trap bomb un­der his ve­hi­cle in east Belfast in 2016, and 35-year-old Wil­liam McCon­nell (right), gov­er­nor of HMP Maze, who was shot dead by the Pro­vi­sional IRA in 1984.

The first prison of­fi­cer to be killed was Of­fi­cer R Walker (33), shot dead in 1942.

Agnes Wal­lace (40) was the first fe­male of­fi­cer to be killed. She died in 1979 fol­low­ing an at­tack by the INLA.

Ron­nie Ar­mour, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the North­ern Ire­land Prison Ser­vice, met some fam­i­lies of the of­fi­cers dur­ing the an­nual event.

“It is im­por­tant that we con- tinue to re­mem­ber the ser­vice and sac­ri­fice of prison staff who lost their lives serv­ing the com­mu­nity,” he said.

“The an­nual ser­vice of re­mem­brance serves as a re­minder of the pro­fes­sion­al­ism, com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion of gov­er­nors, of­fi­cers and sup­port staff of the North­ern Ire­land Prison Ser­vice, past and present, in up­hold­ing and main­tain­ing our jus­tice sys­tem.”

Wreaths were also laid by Pe­ter May, per­ma­nent sec­re­tary for the De­part­ment of Jus­tice; rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the be­reaved wi­d­ows; Cen­tral Benev­o­lent Fund; Prison Of­fi­cers’ As­so­ci­a­tion; Prison Gov­er­nors’ As­so­ci­a­tion; NI Pub­lic Ser­vice Al­liance; Prison Ser­vice Trust; NIPS Sports As­so­ci­a­tion; Re­tired Of­fi­cers’ Fel­low­ship, the lo­cal branch of the Royal Bri­tish Le­gion, and the Ir­ish Prison Ser­vice.

The Me­mo­rial Gar­den at Hy­de­bank Wood was of­fi­cially opened by the Princess Royal ear­lier this year.

Mr Ar­mour de­scribed the new gar­den as “a space where we, as a Prison Ser­vice fam­ily, can come to re­mem­ber rel­a­tives, friends and col­leagues so cru­elly taken from us and to re­flect on the con­tri­bu­tion they made as well as the ser­vice they gave”.

“It is a place of tran­quil­lity and a per­ma­nent ac­knowl­edge­ment of the heavy price paid by the fam­i­lies of our mur­dered col­leagues,” he added. TAOISEACH Leo Varad­kar was seen wear­ing a sham­rock poppy at the Bri­tish-Ir­ish sum­mit meet­ing on the Isle of Man yes­ter­day. The sym­bol fea­tures a red poppy in­set on a larger sham­rock with the dates 1914 to 1918 and the words ‘Lest We For­get’. The Taoiseach sat with de facto Deputy Prime Min­is­ter David Lid­ing­ton and First Min­is­ter of Scot­land Nicola Stur­geon at the sum­mit.

Foyle Col­lege cadets Jack McQuil­lan, An­drew Hawthorne and Jamie Pat­ter­son place poppy crosses af­ter an assem­bly in which the names of the Old Boys who gave their lives in the Great War were read out

Max (left) and Peanut pay their re­spects to an­i­mals which lost their lives in war­fare at the an­nual An­i­mals in War me­mo­rial event in Park Lane, Lon­don

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