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Vigil for murdered prison officer Adrian Ismay held in Belfast

Trade unions organised a short vigil in Belfast city centre yesterday to remember murdered prison officer Adrian Ismay
Staff Reporter

A LONE piper played laments as several hundred people gathered in Belfast city centre to remember murdered prison officer Adrian Ismay.

There was a minute's silence but no speeches at the vigil on Tuesday organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).

As the 52-year-old's friends and family laid him to rest, just a few miles away those who did not know him but were touched by the brutal nature of his death paused to reflect.

Taryn Trainor said: "I think it is very important people come out and say that this type of action should be condemned and we don't want it in our society.

"It is important that people feel safe going into their work without their lives being under threat."

Trade union officials, some carrying banners, were joined at the front of Belfast City Hall by scores of office workers and shoppers who stood with their heads bowed and arms folded.

A number of MLAs including the SDLP's Claire Hanna, former lord mayor of Belfast Máirtín Ó Muilleoir of Sinn Fein and Kieran McCarthy from the Alliance Party were also in attendance.

Mr McCarthy said he wanted to show solidarity, adding: "It is just unbelievable that we are still caught up in this mindset where people can go out and do such a thing."

The lunchtime vigil lasted just a few minutes, but organisers hope it will have sent a strong message to the violent dissident republicans who planted the deadly booby trapped device under the prison officer's van on March 4.

Peter Bunting, ICTU assistant general secretary said: "We held the silent vigil to allow workers and trade unionists to illustrate our support and solidarity with the family and to show our abhorrence at the brutal murder of Adrian Ismay, who was an ordinary worker.

"Having a vigil also condemns in the strongest possible terms his murder and illustrates that many, many people, particularly working class people, are against the murder and mayhem that is being perpetrated by dissident republicans against ordinary public sector workers.

"It is about us standing together publicly."

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