Tuesday, September 27, 2022


WARM tributes have been paid locally to Queen Elizabeth II. After her passing last Thursday, the district council opened books of condolence in Ballynahinch, Castlewellan, Downpatrick, Kilkeel, Newcastle, Warrenpoint and other places across the district. The chairperson of the district council, Cllr Michael Savage, extended his “deep sympathies to the Royal family” following the death of the 96-year-old monarch. “The Queen’s devotion to public service throughout her long life is renowned across the world, and at home her role in building community relations and dedication to the peace process is appreciated by many people throughout these islands,” he added. Tributes were paid by representatives of the six political parties at a special meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council on Monday evening. In the Northern Ireland Assembly on Monday local MLA Diane Forsythe said that in South Down “the gratitude and respect for our Queen is immense”. “Queen Elizabeth’s service to the people and to her country was surpassed only by her service to her King of Kings, Jesus Christ,” she added. A number of special services will take place in local churches in the coming days to reflect on the Queen’s passing. Ireland’s President Michael D. Higgins called Queen Elizabeth II “a remarkable friend” who had “great impact on the bonds of mutual understanding between our two peoples”, while the speaker of the Stormont Assembly, Alex Maskey, addressing the new king, Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, yesterday during a reception at Hillsborough Castle, gave a message of condolence on behalf of the country’s people.  His Majesty went on to say that his late mother “never ceased to pray for the best of times” for Northern Ireland in a short speech at Hillsborough Castle.  With thousands of names already added to books of condolence opened up across the district, others who have over the years had communications with the late Queen will now cherish these even more dearly.  This includes the Kilkeel based Schomberg Society, who were honoured to have received an official Royal Letter from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II just three weeks before her passing.   The local Ulster-Scots group had been busy finalising plans for the official unveiling of the statue to honour Robert Hill Hanna VC, and during this time had received a letter in the post from Buckingham Palace.  The letter was written on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II and was read aloud at the official statue unveiling ceremony in Kilkeel on 20 August.  The letter wished to express Her Majesty’s ‘warm good wishes to all of those who will be present for a most successful and memorable event.

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