The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim paid tribute to the service and sacrifice of members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) at an event to mark 100 years since its formation.
At the event in the Braid Town Hall in Ballymena, Councillor William McCaughey remembered the 462 officers who had lost their lives in the line of duty and their families, as well as those who suffered serious injuries and trauma.
He said: “Today, it is fitting that we remember and honour the brave men and women of the RUC and that we also remember the PSNI officers who have also paid the ultimate price and those who have been left with life-changing injuries because of terrorist acts.
“Alongside the sacrifice and the heroism of officers and staff, are the accounts of what life was like for the families of officers. These are the narratives of friendships and comradery, of innovations, international recognition and world-leading achievements. Officers did suffer dreadfully, and alongside them, so too did their families.
“Just under 1,200 police families were forced to abandon their homes because of threats from terrorists across the political spectrum. The upheaval and the stress they suffered was immense. Often with little warning, husbands, wives, children and other family members were spirited away to safe locations, to keep them safe from harm.
“The personal cost was very high. Partners had to quit their jobs with little to no notice; children were taken away from friends and relations and enrolled in new schools far from where they had grown up. No longer was it possible to just ‘drop in’ on extended family members or friends and keeping in contact with fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, marking significant family events sometimes became virtually impossible. For some families, even doing the weekly shopping had to be planned and care taken.”
He added: “In this centenary year, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will mark the sacrifices and honour the achievements of the RUC GC (George Cross Foundation). We want the men and women who served so well and so selflessly and the families of those who cannot be with us to know ‘we will always be by your side; you will always have a home in this Borough’.”