A short service of reflection and remembrance is being held in Dromore on the inaugural Orange Victims’ Day.
Lower Iveagh District LOL No 1 is holding a short service of reflection and remembrance in the grounds of Dromore Orange Hall this Saturday (1 September) at 11am on the inaugural Orange Victims’ Day.
On Saturday, province-wide the Loyal Orange Institution will formally remember the 335 Orangemen and one Orangewoman murdered by terrorists during the Troubles. The day, which will become an annual event, will also highlight the ongoing plight of the injured and bereaved.
The local service will be conducted by Bro Rev Victor Neill, Grand Chaplain of County Down Grand Orange Lodge, and will include an Act of Remembrance and the laying of a wreath at the Herron family memorial plaque which was unveiled on the boundary wall of Dromore Orange Hall in April 2016.
Town draper, William Herron (64), his wife Elizabeth (58) and daughter Noeline (27) died in the blaze after an incendiary device was planted in their Market Square drapery store in April 1976. The fire destroyed much of the shop and the family home above it, where the three victims died from suffocation.
The service is open to all and any member of the Orange Institution who intends to be present is asked to wear regalia.
Bro William Herron was a member of Closkelt LOL in Rathfriland District, the family memorial is being used as a focal point on Saturday as it is the only tangible memorial in Dromore to the history of the Troubles.
Rathfriland and Kilkeel are also organising Acts of Remembrance this Saturday (1 September) as part of Orange Victims’ Day.
Rathfriland District LOL No3 is organising an Act of Remembrance this Saturday morning (1 September) at 8am at the War Memorial.
The local District has organised an Act of Remembrance and wreath laying ceremony as part of the Orange Institution’s inaugural Orange Victims’ Day.
Over 330 members of the Orange Institution were murdered during the Troubles. Locally, five members of Rathfriland District were murdered.
6 November, 1974 - Thomas John McCready, Annahinchago LOL 580
7 April, 1976 - William Herron, Closkelt LOL 415
4 November, 1983 - Brian John Martin, Moneygore LOL 574
3 May, 1985 - William James Heenan, Legananny LOL 1455
15 May, 1986 - Herbert McConville, Tierfergus LOL 575.
Meanwhile, Kilkeel will mark Orange Victims’ Day this Saturday with an Act of Remembrance with a 7.30pm parade to the memorial on Greencastle Street/ Knockchree.
Grand Master of the Orange Order, Edward Stevenson said the new designated victims’ day will be an annual commemoration involving “remembrance and reflection” for the Orange fraternity.
The chosen date coincides with the anniversary of the Tullyvallen massacre, when IRA gunmen burst in to a rural Orange hall in south Armagh during a meeting and murdered four lodge members. A fifth member later died from the injuries he sustained.
Mr Stevenson said: “When I was elected grand master, I made a pledge the innocent victims of the Troubles and their families would remain a key priority for the Orange Institution.
“Our designated victims’ day is another public demonstration of that promise.
“Cemeteries across this province bear testimony to the sacrifice paid by so many people and in particular our members. More than half of them were singled out by republicans because they were serving this community in the security forces.
“Others were targeted because they were Protestant and members of the Orange Order. They must never be forgotten.”