remembrance day 29 septembre 2009

ASSOCIATION for the truth about the murder of SOPHIE TOSCAN DU PLANTIER born BOUNIOL


Remembrance Day ceremony for murder victims held

Mark Holohan father of Robert Holohan at the memorial

KATHRYN HAYES Irish Times 12 September 2009

FORMER PRESIDENT Mary Robinson commended the bravery of families who had lost loved ones to murder at a Remembrance Day held in Limerick at the weekend.

More than 300 people attended Saturday’s event, which was organised by victim support group Advic. The names of 566 murder victims were read out during the ceremony held at St Saviour’s Church in Limerick.

In her address, the former president of Ireland and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson paid tribute to the families whose work will help lead to the creation of an inter-agency support group for families affected in the future.

“No one has the insights, the lived experience of coping which you have, so it is deeply impressive that you are prepared to share with others who will face similar loss in the future,” she said.

Ms Robinson also said it was important that all families who are victims of loss to homicide “experience a sense of fairness and balance in dealing with all State and local authorities”.

“They need full, timely and accurate information about court procedures – including the Coroner’s Court. Where appropriate confidential information and counselling should be made available and follow up contact after all procedures have been finalised may be desirable.”

Gemma Coleman, whose son Pat (34), was stabbed to death in Limerick was among the family representatives, who read out the names of 566 people who have been murdered in Ireland over the past number of years.

Jean-Antoine Bloc-Daude, vice-president of the Association for Truth about the murder of Sophie Du Plantier, also spoke at the service where he read out a message on behalf of Ms Du Plantier’s mother.

“She wants people to know that we are with you and we understand that we have to fight together to make our two judicial systems more similar,” he said.

Peter Keaney whose 19-year-old daughter Sheola was murdered in 2006 said Saturday’s gathering helped bereaved families to “feel normal in an abnormal situation”.

He said his family was still struggling to cope with the loss of their only child and called for more changes to legislation.

“Our laws have to be changed because there is a murder a day, practically. Slowly but surely things are starting to happen but we really need to wake up a lot more. We are trying to cope but its difficult enough. She was our only child so it’s difficult enough to be honest. We think of her every day without a doubt.”

Deirdre Weldon, whose 19-year-old nephew Gavin was stabbed to death in Ballyfermot in 2006, attended Saturday’s service with his mother Siobhán.

“Nobody in our family has been the same since it happened. You don’t know what murder does to your family until it happens. Time doesn’t heal anything,” she said.

“There are so many murders now and so many stabbings and nobody seems to be doing anything about the sentencing. My father used to say there are loads of laws but there’s no justice and that is so true there is no justice for people.”

Also present were the parents of Cork schoolboy Robert Houlihan and Mary Geoghegan, the mother of murdered Limerick rugby player Shane Geoghegan who was shot dead in a case of mistaken identity in November of last year.

This article appears in the print edition of the Irish Times