It is believed over thousands of friends, family members and local people gathered at the Star of the Sea Church in Greysteel on Friday evening to commemorate the devastating atrocity of 25 years ago that claimed the lives of eight civilians and wounded nineteen.
In the congregation were those who lost loved ones, those who were injured and those who witnessed the horror of October 30, 1993, when three UDA gunmen, using the cover name of the UFF, entered the Rising Sun Bar in Greysteel and opened fire.
It is believed there were at least 70 people inside attending a Halloween party and at first some thought the men were playing a Halloween prank.
Following the service, the families laid wreaths at a memorial plaque outside the Rising Sun bar, a plaque which was engraved with the names of those who tragically lost their lives on that fateful night. Those among the dead were Karen Thompson (19), Steven Mullan (20), Moira Duddy (59), Joseph McDermott (60), James Moore (81), John Moyne (50), John Burns (54) and Victor Montgomery (76).
East Derry SDLP Assembly Member John Dallat who joined relatives and friends at the special Mass has described the experience as very humbling and memorable in an extraordinary way.He said: “As I listened to the names of the victims read out, I thought these were real people, young and old who didn’t deserve to die.
“They were innocent people and twenty-five years on their loss is still so real and their families are living out that hurt day and daily and especially on this occasion.”
“I was honoured to share a pew with other elected representatives as well as my own, people from the Ulster Unionist Party who travelled considerable distances to share the occasion and identify with the families. “These are good people and they are part of a future which embraces everyone in the way the Greysteel families have asked that it be.
“The attendance and participation of clergy from other denominations also added to the sanctity of the occasion and hopefully helped those families as they marked the 25th anniversary of the murder of their loved ones.”
“All of us must redouble our efforts to create a future where never again a future generation has to suffer in the way the Greysteel families have suffered and grieved.
“The current political stalemate is in danger of creating another political vacuum which enables evil to overcome good.
“The collapse of Stormont and the ongoing efforts of paramilitary gangs to reassert their authority is surely amble evidence that we need to take note.
“We need to listen to people like Alan McBride who lost his wife in the Shankhill atrocity and was in Greysteel to support the families.”
“Above all I found my attendance at Greysteel a very humbling and memorable experience in which I met extraordinary people who harbour no hatred, no vengeance and nothing but love for people from all backgrounds.
“We can learn much from them in how good can overcome evil and division.”