HUNDREDS of people have come together in a silent vigil in Lisburn city centre to remember those brutally killed by terrorists over the last week and to express their revulsion at the perpetrators.
Lisburn was just one of the many peace vigils held across Northern Ireland this week as people expressed their sorrow and outrage at the murders of two soldiers and the separate killing of a police officer this week.
Sappers Mark Quinsey, 23, from Birmingham and Patrick Azimkar, 21, from London, were shot dead by the Real IRA at Massereene Army base in Antrim on Saturday night as they went out to collect pizzas. Four other people, including the two pizza delivery men, were injured. Just 48 hours later Constable Stephen Carroll, 48, a married man with children from the Banbridge area, was shot dead by the Continuity IRA in an ambush as he went to answer a call for help in Craigavon.
Hundreds of people gathered at the Sunken Gardens in Market Square at 1pm on Wednesday afternoon for the half hour vigil.
As well as members of the public, both young and old, there were representatives from Lisburn City Council, led by the Mayor Councillor Ronnie Crawford, Chairman of the District Policing Partnership, Alderman Jim Dillon, Lagan Valley, MP Jeffrey Donaldson and MLAs. Local clergy also attended the vigil, as did representatives from local schools and ex-servicemen.
Despite being a silent protest, the silence was broken when a man stepped forward, holding up a poster which read 'R-IRA Scum C-IRA Scum'. This was met with a round of applause from those gathered.
|Lisburn Mayor, Councilor Ronnie Crawford and fellow councillors at the silent vigil||Attending the silent vigil in Lisburn city centre on Wednesday.|
THE Mayor of Lisburn, Councillor Ronnie Crawford has condemned the recent terrorist attacks and has, on the behalf of the people of Lisburn, extended his sympathies to the bereaved families. "A few days before Ireland celebrates its renowned Christian saint, the whole island of Ireland and the reputation of the Irish people is once again dragged through the mire by the unjustified violence of extremists from the Republican tradition," said Mr Crawford.
"What happened in Antrim on Saturday evening is a perfect dichotomy between good and evil. Very young, unarmed soldiers about to depart to face a fierce enemy in a very hostile environment in Afghanistan were brutally mown down by those too cowardly to face a fair fight. Republicans have never had a reputation for civilised conduct in any hostilities they have conducted and the callous murder of these soldiers and that of a policeman in Craigavon illustrates that the mark of Cain is still upon them," he continued. upon behalf of the people of the city of Lisburn I extend my sincere sympathy to the bereaved families and our prayers and good wishes to the wounded.
"The police now need to run these cowards to ground and I appeal to everyone to report any suspicions they may have to the PSNI and ensure that progress here continues to be made despite the activities of those who wish to draw us into a new dark age."
Referring to the vigil, Mr Crawford said: "I am extremely heartened by the spontaneous response from so many Lisburn people from right across the community to the gathering in Market Square.
"Many churches, schools and businesses were represented to demonstrate their abhorrence of the recent evil deeds. We must concentrate on further binding our community together for by so doing we will thwart the will of the evildoers."
|Lisburn councillors attended the Silent Vigil.||Local clergy with Alderman Ivan Davis at the Silent Vigil in Lisburn's Market Square.|
LISBURN Councillors have condemned the attacks in which two soldiers and a police officer lost their lives.
The Chairman of Lisburn's District Policing Partnership, Alderman Jim Dillon said: "I want to express our condolences to the families of the two young soldiers and the familiy of the policeman who was gunned down so viciously.
"I ask people to remain calm at this time and give the police and the army whatever help or information they can to them to bring these murderers to justice."
Councillor Paul Givan urged the public in Lisburn to be vigilant following the attacks. "The murderous activities of these republican terrorists have sent shockwaves throughout the community and the sense of anger and revulsion has been palpable. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families that suffered this terrible loss.
"The community must re-double its efforts in joining with the police to combat this threat and as a member of the District Police Partnership I have seen at first hand how partnership policing can deliver and at this time more than ever before partnership policing is critical."
Councillor Andrew Ewing said he was "deeply shocked" by news of the murders. "The gunmen who perpetrated these attacks offer only death, destruction and misery. The vast overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland demand and deserve a peaceful society free from the threat of violence."
Councillor David Archer commented: "My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the families of Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar together with the family of Constable Stephen Carroll. Their murders are such a tragic waste of life and I condemn them in the strongest possible terms.
"It is essential however that we all unite against those who would seek to drag Northern Ireland and its peace process back to a bad place. Additionally Government must recognise the necessity to provide the Chief Constable with the resources he requires to crush this evil threat from dissident republicans."
Councillor Cecil Calvert added his voice, saying: "At a time like this our thoughts naturally turn to the families of those who have, like so many before them, been bereaved by vicious Republican gangsters. The pain and suffering which they are experiencing can only be understood by those who have experienced the loss of a loved one in similar circumstances. Sadly, this has been an all too common experience in our Province."
THE Down District of the Methodist Church in Ireland at its Synod Meeting in Glastry Methodist Church on Tuesday March 10 has called on anyone with information about the recent attacks in Antrim and Craigavon to contact the police.
"We wish to express sympathy to the families of the two soldiers murdered outside Massereene Military Base in Antrim on Saturday March 7 and to the wife, family and colleagues of the PSNI Officer murdered in Craigavon on Monday March 9," said a spokesperson for the Synod. "We also offer our prayers and good wishes for a full recovery to those soldiers and civilians in the incident in Antrim. "Having experienced the peace of recent years, we do not wish to return to a time of such violence.
"We are heartened by the unanimity shown by our Assembly members in their condemnation of these murders and pray for them that they will continue to provide good government for all citizens.
"We call on any member of the public who may have any information about these events to contact the PSNI. We would consider retaliation to be unacceptable and counter-productive."
More pictures of silent vigil at www.lisburntoday.co.uk