Northern Ireland Firefighters
This Red Plaque honours firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty in Northern Ireland. It was presented on the 4th of May 2018, Firefighters Memorial Day.
The memorial recognises all firefighters in Northern Ireland who were killed in the line of duty during the Troubles. On the day the Red Plaque was presented, Firefighter Alice Barbour said of her fallen colleagues it commemorates: ‘they gave their lives trying help someone else. We need to make sure they are not forgotten.’
A large crowd attended the ceremony to unveil the Plaque, including friends and family of fallen firefighters, senior FBU leaders, and firefighters from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Dublin firefighter John McNally said: ‘it’s a great opportunity… for the two sides of the border come together in friendship, in solidarity, and to respect their fallen heroes.’ Belfast Area Commander Aidan Jennings said of the occasion: ‘it makes me feel proud to be a member of the Fire and Rescue Service and a member of the FBU. We really are one family.’
The Plaque is mounted on a mural wall that celebrates Irish and international workers’ solidarity. Created by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, this colourful painting complements a statue of Jim Larkin, a key mobiliser of Ireland’s trade union movement.
For over a quarter of a century Belfast firefighters witnessed some of the worst atrocities human beings could inflict on each other during the Troubles, including bombs, blast incendiaries, petrol bombs and rioting. Remarkably few members of the fire service lost their lives as a result of the Troubles; one, 23-year-old Brian Douglas, was shot by the UDA as he fought a fire in South Belfast, while a small number of others died as a result of explosions. But what did become commonplace was attacks on fire crews.
Below are memories added by those who knew Northern Ireland Firefighters or had a story that they wish to share with you. If you have a tribute for the Northern Ireland Firefighters that you wish to add, please include your memory below.
Please help support our Firefighters with the Firefighters 100 Lottery, a weekly online lottery created to support firefighters, their bereaved families and to honour the bravery and sacrifice of firefighters killed in the line of duty. With your help we can have schemes such as the Red Plaque Project for memorials to those lives lost.
Photo credits: Kevin Cooper