Belfast opens book of condolence for flight victims

Reams of pages filled up with messages of support as a book of condolence was opened at Belfast City Hall for the victims of the recent spate of air crashes.

SDLP Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon launched it on Monday morning, and when The News Letter visited just a couple of hours later there were over 60 signatures, with more being added every few minutes.

Lord Nichola Mallon signs the book of condolence at Belfast City Hall

Lord Nichola Mallon signs the book of condolence at Belfast City Hall

A range of well-wishers left tributes to the dead and messages of support for the families, ranging from councillors to members of the public.

One of those making his mark was retired docker Michael Montgomery, 75, from south Belfast.

“I’ve a son who flies all over the world, and I would worry about him more,” he said.

He said such a disaster could befall anyone, and encouraged others to join him in leaving a message of support.

He had been on his way to see the doctor when he called into the hall, and said: “Everybody should do it, to show the world we’re thinking of them – because the world thought of us many a time.”

Retired power station worker and caretaker Robert McCauley also came along.

The 71-year-old Larne man was shopping with wife Elizabeth when they both decided to put their names to the book.

“It’s just this sad thing that shouldn’t have happened,” he said of the MH17 flight, which is widely accepted to have been downed by a missile from pro-Russian rebels in the east of Ukraine.

Julie-Anne Corr, newly elected PUP councillor for Oldpark in north Belfast, said: “It’s an opportunity to come down and put your thoughts and your words into a book that’ll be down in history.”

Belfast City Council said the book will remain as long as there is public demand for it.

After it closes it will be presented to the honorary consul of the Netherlands, in recognition of the large number of Dutch deaths on flight MH17.