Priest pays tribute to Greysteel families

Part of the crowd outside the Rising Sun Bar in Greysteel last night at a service to remember those who were brutally murdered 20 years ago. DER4413JM060

Part of the crowd outside the Rising Sun Bar in Greysteel last night at a service to remember those who were brutally murdered 20 years ago. DER4413JM060

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A priest at a Mass to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Greysteel massacre has paid tribute to the families and friends of the eight people who died as a result of the shooting, and those who were injured.

Fr Stephen Kearney, one of the first people at the scene of the atrocity in the Rising Sun Bar on October 30, 1993, said those who suffered physically and emotionally because of the outrage, rather than call out for revenge, accepted their own pain and were conscious of the pain suffered by others.

Fr Kearney was delivering the homily to a large crowd at the Star of the Sea Church, not far from the scene of the atrocity.

The local parish priest, Fr Patrick Mullan, told the congregation that the attack united the local community, rather than dividing it.

A number of Protestant ministers attended the Mass. Afterwards, there was a cross-community service at the memorial to the victims outside the Rising Sun bar, during which flowers were laid, and a reception in the bar itself.

Earlier in the day, relatives of those killed in the Shankill Road bombing, days before the Greysteel shooting, laid flowers at the memorial. In claiming responsibility for the Greysteel attack, the Ulster Freedom Fighters said it was in retaliation for the Shankill bombing.

Those present for the commemoration ceremonies this evening included members of the local community and the emergency services who attended to the dying and wounded after the shooting.

In his homily, Fr Kearney said those affected by what happened in Greysteel showed great respect for each other, their neighbours and outsiders who got in contact wtih them.

“You saw yourselves as ordinary people who were asked to carry the pain inflicted by men who were driven by hate, bitterness and inhuman lust for cruelty. You did that by supporting each other, by being so conscious of the pain that was in other homes like your own that rather than crying out for revenge or even justice you accepted your own pain and used it as the tonic that gave you sensitivity to others and strength to comfort them.”