Thursday 18 July 2019

'Dignity, courage and grace'

Poignant reception at City Hall as Mayor welcomes the Maxwells and friends from Mullaghmore

Paul Deering

The dignity, courage and grace of a father who lost his son in the IRA bombing in Mullaghmore almost 40 years ago was praised by the Mayor of Sligo Municipal District, Councillor Rosaleen O'Grady last week.

She invited John and Marion Maxwell to City Hall as special guests in one of her last functions as Mayor.

She said it was a privilege to welcome John and Marion to City Hall.

Mr Maxwell lost his son, Paul a 15-year-old boy from Killynure, Enniskillen, who had worked on preparing the royal boat for fishing that fateful day in August 1979 when it was blown up by the IRA.

Also killed in the explosion in the mouth of Mullaghmore harbour was Lord Louis Mountbatten, his young grandson, Nicholas Knatchbull (14) and Nicholas's grandmother, the Dowager Lady Brabourne (83).

Councillor O'Grady said the purpose in hosting this visit of the Maxwells was to convey to them the regard in which they are held by their many friends in the local community, and to extend appreciation for the dignity, courage and grace

that have accompanied them throughout their lives.

"Over many years, your family and the local community have dealt with issues of closure, reconciliation and renewal, and many people have been quietly energised and inspired by your presence.

"The walls of this famous building have resonated throughout the generations since it was erected 150 years ago - great debates, distinguished visitors, City Hall served as the social, political and civic centre of our town.

"Visitors to Sligo gravitate toward this building as the civic centre of Sligo, to study its architecture and history, to appreciate its long tradition as a hospitable and welcoming venue.

"This afternoon we have another auspicious and notable occasion as we welcome John and Marion in the company of their friends and colleagues from Mullaghmore community.

"We welcome you in a spirit of friendship that has characterised this community, and we are grateful that you have taken the time to be with us today.

"The challenge of reconciling international attention with an intensely private demeanour is one that you met with great fortitude and character.

"From our perspective, I see the role of the Local Authority, and particularly those in positions of civic responsibility, to reflect the views and opinions of the communities we serve.

"In this instance, we are pleased to work alongside our fiends in the Mullaghmore community, who join with me in conveying their respect and regard for two people they befriended many years ago.

"Around 100 years ago, American President Woodrow Wilson said 'Friendship is the only cement that will hold the world together'

"We live in a different era, a different country, but the core principle remains the same, and today's visit of John and Marion is a celebration of a special friendship that touched so many lives," said the Mayor.

Sligo Champion