Justice Minister Claire Sugden today attended the Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) Annual Memorial Service to remember officers who lost their lives in the course of duty.
Senior Officer Adrian Ismay who died in March as a result of injuries sustained in a bomb attack, was among the 32 officers remembered at the ceremony in Hydebank Wood College.
Minister Sugden said: “The annual Memorial Service is an important event in the Prison Service calendar. It is a time to remember all Prison Service staff killed while serving the community. It is a time to reflect on the contribution they made, and also a time to remember their families and loved ones who are left behind.
“I consider it to be a privilege to be able to attend today’s service and meet some of the widows and close relatives of Prison Service staff who lost their lives in the line of duty. They carry their great suffering, pain and loss with dignity. It is important we remember them all.”
During the service, conducted by Prison Service chaplains, Minister Sugden laid the first wreath at the Memorial Stone with the Acting Director General Phil Wragg laying a wreath on behalf of the Northern Ireland Prison Service.
The Minister commended the Central Benevolent Fund (CBF) who organised today’s Memorial Service ensuring their lost colleagues have not been forgotten.
Before the ceremony, the Minister was invited to inspect the Northern Ireland Prison Guard of Honour. A two-minute silence was observed, after which the names of the Prison Service personnel who lost their lives were read out by Maghaberry Prison Governor Stephen Davis.
Phil Wragg, Acting Director General of the Northern Ireland Prison Service said: “We remember with pride our friends and colleagues, and the contribution they made to the Northern Ireland Prison Service and the wider community.”
Wreaths were also laid by representatives of the bereaved widows, The Central Benevolent Fund, The Prison Officers’ Association, The Prison Governors’ Association, NI Public Service Alliance, The Prison Service Trust, The NIPS Sports Association, The Retired Officers’ Fellowship, and the local branch of the Royal British Legion. Wreaths were also laid by the Irish Prison Service.