Murphy and Ritchie welcome FAI black armband decision
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie and Sinn Féin MLA Conor Murphy have told Newry Times that they welcome the decision of The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) for its players to wear black armbands during the Italy match at Euro 2012 to mark the 18th anniversary of the Loughinisland massacre.
Speaking to Newry Times, Ritchie said: “This is a very thoughtful and touching gesture by the FAI and is extremely poignant given that the Euro 2012 match will take place between Ireland and Italy exactly 18 years on from the terrible murders at Loughinisland. This is a great act of solidarity with the victims’ families and is hugely symbolic as those whose lives were taken in the massacre all had a great love of the Irish football team.”
“In June 1994 families and our community was robbed of six good men as they watched Ireland take on Italy in O’Toole’s Bar. It is vital that justice is achieved for these families and that the perpetrators of this atrocity are prosecuted.”
She added, “I hope there will be a speedy conclusion to the police inquiry. I have written to the First and Deputy First Ministers to see when the new Police Ombudsman will take up his post and I have written to the Office of the Police Ombudsman calling on the new Ombudsman to provide his thoughts on his predecessor’s report into this awful tragedy.”
Conor Murphy agreed and said the FAI’s decision was to be ‘applauded’. “The families are still seeking truth and justice for their loved ones and with the game being on the same date and against the same opposition will be a difficult time for them. Our thoughts are with the families at this time as they not only mark the anniversary of their loved ones deaths but also continue in their search for truth and justice.”
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