Dublin ceremony gives voice to Troubles victims by reading names out loud

The event at the Dublin Unitarian Church on St Stephen’s Green began at noon and was due to finish at approximately 3:00 p.m.

Speaking before the ceremony, the church’s minister, the Rev. Bridget Spain, said the names are worth reading to remember those who died.

“It was a waste of life, we don’t want to go back there,” he said.

“It gives those dead a voice, just for the second it takes to read their name,” he added.

Several volunteers took turns reading the alphabetical list during the three-hour ceremony.

Ms. España said members of the congregation and the general public come and go, and no one is expected to stay for the entire ceremony.

“25 years later (since the Good Friday Agreement), we seem to think that all is well.

“If our publicity here makes someone remember what it was like then and say, ‘We’re not going there, can we work on something better?’

“It’s worth it.”

She said it can be very emotional to read the list of names.

The church said the commemoration is the only religious service of its kind in Ireland.

He said the February shooting of PSNI Detective Chief Inspector John Caldwell is “a grim warning that the killings may not be over.

“These readings powerfully illustrate the terrible and random nature of death in war and civil conflict.

“All human life and death are on these sad lists: British soldiers, IRA volunteers, loyalist paramilitaries, Ulster policemen and women, part-time UDR men, prison officers, gardai, civil rights protesters, judges, businessmen, farmers, taxi drivers, social workers, housewives, children of all ages.

“People killed walking home from the pub, while watching football on TV, while attending church; killed on buses and trains; and walk and shop and visit London and Birmingham, Dublin and Monaghan, Belfast and Derry and Banbridge and Omagh and about twenty other cities and towns in Northern Ireland.”

Referring to the recent rise in the terrorist threat level in Northern Ireland, Ms. Spain wanted to spread a message of optimism on the occasion.

“I’m trying to tell people to remember that time when everyone was so optimistic.

“Let’s remember those good old days and try to go back there and work on what was built 25 years ago.”

Opening the ceremony, Ms. Spain quoted John Hume: “Difference is the essence of humanity.

“Difference is an accident of birth and therefore should never be your source of hate.

“The response to difference is to respect it.

“Therein lies the most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity.”

Abbey Theater Artistic Director Caitriona McLaughlin was the first volunteer to read the names.

Referencing the ending of The Crucible, he said: “The people on this list had no choice as to which truth or falsehood they would sign their name to.

“The names we read today are forever associated with the trauma we call Troubles, but reading these names will not be defined by it.”


Leave a Reply