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Billy Fox portrait unveiled 50 years since assassination



Billy Fox portrait unveiled 50 years since assassination

Taoiseach Simon Harris has unveiled a portrait at Leinster House to commemorate Senator Billy Fox who was shot dead by the IRA in Co Monaghan in 1974.

The 35-year-old Fine Gael Senator was killed on the night of 11 March 1974.

Fifty years since his assassination, the Taoiseach said he wanted to welcome the family, friends and community of Mr Fox to the event.

Mr Harris said that Mr Fox served with distinction, raising such issues as the fact that the British Army was firing plastic bullets and tear gas cannisters across the border into the Republic.

The Taoiseach said he was a man of peace who served his community and wanted justice for everyone.

He said Mr Fox was a man of courage and conviction, who was not afraid to call out and criticise the then-British government for deliberately cratering border roads.

Mr Fox shared a room while at Leinster House with the former taoiseach John Bruton whose wife Finola attended the event.

Senator Billy Fox was killed on the night of 11 March 1974

The Taoiseach said he wanted to honour Mr Fox by protecting the rights and interests of all those who have suffered during the Troubles.

He said: “We need to see a process to deal with legacy and reconciliation that it is victim centred and aligned the human rights and is embedded with the letter and the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.

“To me, that is what a reset of Anglo-Irish relations looks like.”

The Taoiseach said that the Republic has been so lucky that physical harm to a public representative has been a rarity, with Mr Fox being the only one assassinated.

However he added: “We can never take that for granted. The toxicity in public discourse now must be dialled down.

“And all of us have a role to play in that. Today let’s not just lament Billy Fox, but lets commit by making sure that people can always serve in public office in peace and safety for them, their families and their communities.”

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