The Ulster Unionist Party has commemorated the victims of the Warrenpoint Massacre which took place thirty five years ago today killing 18 soldiers.
Tributes were paid by Newry councillor David Taylor who along with a group of Ulster Unionist council colleagues laid a wreath at the site of the attack and also by Portadown councillor and recipient of the Military Cross, Captain Doug Beattie.
Councillor Taylor said:
“The Warrenpoint massacre was one of the darkest days of the Troubles and the loss of those brave soldiers has never been forgotten by the law-abiding community in the Newry and wider South Down area.
“Like thousands of others they put on the Queen’s uniform, came to Northern Ireland to do their duty and to help combat the terrorists who were trying to destabilise this country, plunge us into civil war and destroy the Union.
“It was a privilege to pay tribute to them today on the 35th anniversary of the bombings and to show that they have not been forgotten.”
Councillor Beattie said:
“There are few places as peaceful and beautiful as Narrow Water just a mile or so Northwest of Warrenpoint in picturesque County Down. It is a place where you would stop to picnic, take in the idyllic scenery or stare across the small narrows to rugged hills in the Irish Republic just a matter of yards away.
“However, 35 years ago today it was the scene of the single biggest loss of life of British soldiers during the recent troubles. On the 27th August 1979 a remote controlled IED, initiated in the Irish Republic ripped through the rear vehicle of a three vehicle convoy of Parachute Regiment soldiers leaving six men dead.
“A second explosion deliberately targeting the first responders, raised the tally of dead from 6 to 18 including the Commanding Officer of The Queens Own Highlanders Lieutenant Colonel David Blair.
“The sacrifice of these brave men must never be forgotten and thirty five years on it is appropriate that we pause to remember them and also Lord Mountbatten, Nicholas Knatchbull, Paul Maxwell and the Dowager Lady Brabourne who were murdered by the IRA in Mullaghmore County Sligo on the same day.”