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Representing Victims of Terrorism in South Armagh
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21/03/05
Memorial Quilt Launch

The launch of FAIR's Memorial Quilt met a good reception from victims, elected representatives and other dignitaries in Markethill today. Designed and made by bereaved and injured victims of South Armagh, the Quilt together with a 10 min presentation provided a poignant and fitting reminder of the cost of the Troubles in the area.

Around 120 people gathered to witness the launch of the Memorial Quilt, with representatives from various statutory and voluntary bodies, as well as a large number of victims themselves. Paying tribute to those who died in the RUC, UDR and British Armed Forces, the Quilt also depicts in a thoughtful and meaningful way the main civilian massacres - Kingsmill, Tullyvallen and Darkley. With many present who had lost loved ones in these atrocities, the unveiling of the carefully-crafted quilt proved to be an emotive occasion of remembering.

DUP MLA Paul Berry, and UUP MLA Danny Kennedy expressed their appreciation to FAIR for their tireless campaign for justice, and for continuing to highlight the needs of the innocent victims in the area. Eric Speers, Mayor of Armagh was not sparing in his praise of the good work of the ladies involved, and of FAIR's continuing campaigns in general.

The event in it's entirety was a great success, and it is expected that the Memorial Quilt will take pride of place in Mount Pleasant House, as a reminder of the past and a reference point to subsequent generations. Such innovative projects create partnerships and bond people together who have suffered grievously at the hands of terrorists.

Everyone left the launch feeling that at last the victims had come together, were working together and would reap the rewards together. They have not been forced to keep quiet or to forget those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, even though modern politics would seek to sideline them and force them away from the past. Each victim present unanimously agreed that they wished to "move on" from the past - but in their own ways and their own time. They would not be dictated to by those who had not suffered, nor cared for their sacrifice.

The FAIR Memorial Quilt with the two stalwarts of FAIR: William Frazer and group chairman Harry Bell MBE

An excellent introduction and presentation by William Wilkinson accompanied by members of the group that were involved in the development and implementation of the quilt project.

The Quilt - unveiled to tremendous applause by Paul Berry MLA

"Words cannot describe!" - Cllr Eric Speers, Mayor of Armagh City and District

"A fine piece of work!" - Cllr Danny Kennedy MLA

A substantial crowd of 120 persons crowded the Markethill Hall for the launch. Without doubt an outstanding turnout for a monday morning.

The quilt provided a poignant reminder of suffering and a reference point for people to be able to express their feelings and communicate with each other in new ways.

 



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