Prison officer Adrian Ismay’s funeral told of New IRA’s ‘dark deed’
Prison visits cancelled in Northern Ireland so that fellow officers could attend ceremony
Members of Adrian Ismay’s family, including his wife Sharon (right) leave the funeral at Woodvale Methodist Church in Belfast. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters.
Woodvale Methodist Church, on Cambrai Street just off the Shankill Road, and a church hall close by were full to capacity. Hundreds more gathered on the street outside for the funeral of Mr Ismay (52), who was fatally injured in a “New IRA” bomb attack earlier this month.
The chief mourners were Mr Ismay’s widow Sharon and their three daughters, Samantha, Sarah and Tori.
They were joined by a large number of Mr Ismay’s prison officer colleagues, politicians, PSNI officers, senior civil servants and other dignitaries for the service. Prison visits were cancelled in the North yesterday so that fellow officers could attend the ceremony.
“In the darkest part of night, probably dressed in dark clothes, dark men did a dark, dark deed, bringing us to this place today, leading to the loss of Izzy, causing us to travel through the valley of the shadow of death,” said Rev Anderson.
He said the overwhelming number of people abhorred what was done by the bombers. “We reject what you have done, we stand against what you have done, we want to build an inclusive peaceful society in Northern Ireland and your contribution to it we do not want,” he added.
Mr Ismay, a native of Carlisle in England and a prison officer since 1987, previously served in the British Royal Navy and saw action in the Falklands War.
Rev Anderson described him as a public servant who also assisted people through his work in St John’s Ambulance, the scouts and the community rescue service.
Some dissident prisoners in Maghaberry Prison reportedly celebrated when they learned of Mr Ismay’s death. He is the second prison officer to have been murdered by the New IRA. The other victim was David Black who was shot dead in 2012.
PresentTheresa VilliersArlene FosterMike NesbittDavid FordJim AllisterGeorge Hamilton
Several prison officers from the Republic, as well as from Britain, joined their colleagues from the Northern Ireland Prison Service at the service.
Separately, at lunchtime yesterday in Belfast city centre, hundreds of people attended a silent vigil organised by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions to remember Mr Ismay.