Mary’s husband served with the Ulster Defence Regiment (part-time) and was murdered on 16th December 1988, nine days before Christmas.
Mary described what happened:
“The IRA ambushed him while he was delivering coal to residents of Ardpatrick Avenue, Downpatrick. He was killed instantly.”
Mary, who is the Chairperson of The War Widows Association, a UK wide organisation that represents widows of service personnel where death has been attributed to service, described what inspired her to join the Forum:
“I have been involved with organisations focused on veterans for many years. Having read the Commissioner for Victims and Survivors evidence to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee some time ago I believed that my experience and knowledge would make a positive contribution to the Forum and contribute to an increased understanding of the veterans’ community, especially in relation to widows. I consider myself to be a good listener who respects others and has the ability to work with others irrespective of background.”
Mary described what she hopes to achieve by her participation on the Forum:
“I hope being part of the group will enhance people’s understanding of the history of the Troubles, as well as to educate, inform and to ensure that future generations never have to live in constant fear that they will be murdered for their beliefs or life choices.”
Looking ahead to 2019, Mary hopes the Forum will have achieved many outcomes:
“Top of the agenda must be the pensions issue and that those injured through no fault of their own have some recognition. I would also hope we establish regular set meetings between the Forum and a NI Assembly cross-party group - this would ensure that both groups were conscious of each other’s agenda and the practicalities of delivering positive outcomes."