Armistice Day: We must not forget prison officers, says Sugden

Justice Minister Claire Sugden MLA lays a wreath at the Northern Ireland Prison Service memorial service at Hydebank Wood
Justice Minister Claire Sugden MLA lays a wreath at the Northern Ireland Prison Service memorial service at Hydebank Wood

Prison 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 memorial service in Hydebank Wood College.

Justice Minister Claire Sugden said it was a privilege to attend the event and meet some of the widows of the men who had died in the line of duty.

She told those gathered: “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, Ms Sugden laid the first wreath at the Memorial Stone with the acting director General Phil Wragg laying a wreath on behalf of the Prison Service.

The minister commended the Central Benevolent Fund (CBF) who organised yesterday’s 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.

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, the Royal British Legion and by the Irish Prison Service.