Permanent Narrow Water memorial being considered

Henry Reilly is the chairman of the Newry and Mourne memorial committee
Henry Reilly is the chairman of the Newry and Mourne memorial committee

The possibility of a permanent memorial to those killed in the Narrow Water ambush attack in 1979 is currently being explored, the chairman of the Newry and Mourne memorial committee has said.

Committee chairman, independent councillor Henry Reilly, said discussions are ongoing but stressed that these were at a very early stage.

The wreaths damaged by vandalism on Saturday have now been replaced, he told the News Letter.

“The memorial committee don’t have any direct role in maintaining the memorial at Narrow Water,” he explained.

“They would do it on an ad hoc basis. The wreaths have already been replaced, and there is a determination there that this will continue to happen, that the lives lost will be remembered.

“It has been subject to vandalism a number of times over the years, but it wouldn’t matter how many times it has been vandalised, the wreaths will always be replaced.

“For me personally, Narrow Water is ingrained in me because I heard the bombs going off. When I was elected councillor in 1989 that was the 10th anniversary, I started placing wreaths there and I always made sure it was acknowledged.

“I am encouraged that young people have now taken that over, which bodes well for the future.”

Mr Reilly added: “There are perhaps 20 people on the committee. We organise an annual service for the victims.

“There have been calls for a permanent memorial at the site, but that would have to go through a formal process.

“It is something that we are considering, but what we would do is consult the local community in that area, consult the families of the victims, and if everybody is ok with it, we would then submit an application.”