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Saturday, July 18, 1998 Published at 14:30 GMT 15:30 UK


Ahern attends mass for Quinn brothers

The attack brought widespread condemnation

The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, has attended a memorial mass in Dublin for the three Quinn brothers who died in the Ballymoney sectarian arson attack.

He led a congregation of more than 600 at Dublin's Roman Catholic cathedral in the city centre.

Mr Ahern said the service permitted people to publicly declare their sympathy and support for the Quinn family.

It signified, he said, "continued commitment to the pursuit of peace and the end of all sectarian violence in Northern Ireland".

After the service he added that the deaths had "certainly shocked people back into their senses".

"For a period of time, they bring people to their senses, but that can move away again. That is why we must get people to understand the central issue - that they must speak to each other," he said.

A book of condolence for the fire victims, Richard Quinn, 11, 10-year-old Mark, and Jason, nine, already containing thousands of signatures, was available to sign.

Also at the service were the UK's Ambassador to Ireland, Dame Veronica Sutherland, and Dublin Lord Mayor Joe Doyle.

The mass was conducted by the auxiliary catholic bishop of Dublin, Dr Jim Moriarty. Irish President Mary McAleese was also represented.

Several people have been questioned by police over the arson attack last Sunday, which brought condemnation from both sides of Northern Ireland's sectarian divide.



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