Councillor Julie Flaherty Awarded British Empire Medal in the King’s Birthday Honours list

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Councillor Julie Flaherty Awarded British Empire Medal

Councillor Julie Flaherty has been awarded the honour of Medallist of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) for services to the Northern Ireland Child Funeral Fund, in the King’s Birthday Honours list. The list recognises the achievements and service of people across the UK.

Representing the Portadown District Electoral Area (DEA) since 2016, Councillor Flaherty is an elected member of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. The former Lord Mayor (2018-2019), has been widely acknowledged for her trailblazing work that led Stormont to introduce a Child Funeral Fund to support families across Northern Ireland with the costs associated with a child’s funeral.

Commenting on the announcement the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Alderman Margaret Tinsley said:

“This honour recognises the tireless campaign that Councillor Flaherty embarked upon back in 2018, to ensure that families suffering the bereavement of a child would not have the additional worry of funeral expenses. Her actions in drawing attention to the need for the Child Funeral Fund touched so many people, and her persistent campaigning to get it introduced will comfort so many families.

“Councillor Flaherty is a true champion and embodies everything that an elected representative should be; passionate, caring and dedicated. I am delighted that she is being recognised with this honour.”

Astonished by the announcement Councillor Julie Flaherty said:

“It is a privilege to be honoured by the King in his coronation year. I am delighted that my long emotional quest to help families who have suffered the unimaginable grief of losing a child has now been realised and recognised in this way.

“I dedicate this honour to my son Jake who passed away from a congenital heart defect when he was just two years old, in 2013. He was the inspiration for my campaign. Through our heartbreak this positive support has now been achieved for other families suffering bereavement. It will forever be his legacy.”

“I would like to thank the Chief Executive of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Roger Wilson, my party colleagues, everyone on the council and Council staff, for their continued support to help me get this fund introduced.”

The Department of Communities fund the Child Funeral Fund, which came into effect on 1 June 2022. The fund offers a one-off payment of £3,056 to all families regardless of their financial situation for the death of any child under the age of 18, and is also available in the event of a still birth after 24 weeks.