Wreaths laid for 32 Ul­ster pri­son of­fi­cers who lost lives

Daily Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - NEWS - BY RE­BECCA BLACK

WREATHS have been laid in mem­ory of North­ern Ire­land pri­son of­fi­cers who lost their lives in the course of duty.

A to­tal of 32 men and women were re­mem­bered dur­ing the ser­vice at the me­mo­rial gar­den at Hy­de­bank Wood in South Belfast.

Vic­tims in­clude Adrian Is­may, 52, who died fol­low­ing a dis­si­dent repub­li­can booby trap bomb un­der his ve­hi­cle in East Belfast in 2016.

Also re­mem­bered is 35-year-old Wil­liam Mccon­nell, 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, who was shot dead in 1942.

Agnes Wal­lace, 40, was the first fe­male of­fi­cer to be mur­dered. She died in 1979 fol­low­ing an at­tack by INLA ter­ror­ists. Ron­nie Ar­mour, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the North­ern Ire­land Pri­son Ser­vice, met a num­ber of fam­i­lies of the of­fi­cers dur­ing the an­nual event.

He said: “It is im­por­tant that we con­tinue to re­mem­ber the ser­vice and sac­ri­fice of pri­son staff who lost their lives serv­ing the com­mu­nity.

“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.”

The me­mo­rial gar­den was of­fi­cially opened by the Princess Royal this year.

Mr Amour said: “It is a place of tran­quil­lity and a per­ma­nent ac­knowl­edge­ment of the heavy price paid by the fam­i­lies of our mur­dered col­leagues.”

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