Northern Ireland

Rev David Armstrong returning home to Northern Ireland

David Armstrong
Image caption Reverend David Armstrong (right) met with Fr Mullan on a return to NI last year

A former Presbyterian minister who left Limavady in the 1980s after receiving loyalist death threats has said that he is returning to live in NI.

Rev David Armstrong, who later became a Church of Ireland vicar in Cork, was threatened after exchanging Christmas greetings with a Catholic priest.

He said that he had been the subject of "intense hatred" but that his belief in Northern Ireland had been renewed.

In 2008, six councillors blocked a plan to give him the freedom of Limavady.

However last year, he made an emotional return to the town on the invitation of a former adversary.

'Good for Peter'

"I am really looking forward to get back to a lot of good friends," Rev Armstrong said.

"My family are not getting any younger and I think it's important to be with them.

"I am going back with a conviction which has always told me that reconciliation is extremely important and that a church that has nothing to say about reconciliation really has nothing to say at all."

For a number of years, Rev Armstrong visited Fr Kevin Mullan's church during the festive season but had to flee the town completely after receiving advice from the RUC that his life was in danger.

"Members of the police advised me that time was running out for me," Rev Armstrong said.

He added that he had been heartened by seeing DUP leader Peter Robinson attend the funeral service of murdered PSNI officer Ronan Kerr.

"Good for Peter, good for Peter. I am glad he was prepared to break the mould. I am delighted.

"I do have a belief in Northern Ireland society. I do. And I believe in my heart that there are better days ahead and if David Armstrong can contribute in any way to those good days, I'll do that."

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