A dissident republican convicted of murdering PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll was married in prison today.
Brendan McConville wed fiancee Siobhan Monaghan in a small ceremony inside Maghaberry prison, Co Antrim.
The former Sinn Fein councillor, who is serving a life sentence for his part in the killing of Constable Carroll back in 2009, struck up a romance with Siobhan after she began writing letters to him from her home in Oxford, England. It is understood she visits McConville regularly.
This afternoon, a picture of a smiling McConville and his new bride in her wedding dress appeared on Facebook, with a number of well-wishers posting messages congratulating the newly-wed couple.
Siobhan also changed her surname on the social media site to ‘McConville’ and posted the comment: ‘Got married.’
Yesterday, Siobhan had revealed her impending marriage plans on Twitter: “I’m getting married in the morning. Ding dong the bells are going to chime”.
Justice for the Craigavon Two, a group campaigning for the release of McConville and John Paul Wootton – who was also convicted of Constable Carroll’s murder – congratulated the couple on social media this morning, posting: “The Craigavon Two committee would like to wish Brendan McConville and Siobhan Monaghan a long and happy and hopefully free future together.”
A spokesperson for the NI Prison Service told the News Letter: “While NIPS does not comment on individual prisoners, a wedding ceremony would be held in the multi-faith centre and officiated over by a prison religious minister. The prisoner may have a number of guests who enter the prison as visitors would.”
As reported by the Belfast Telegraph, a prison source said: “As far as the celebrations will go, it’ll be a quick ceremony, with tea and buns after.
“There certainly won’t be any big fanfare and there won’t be any bells ringing.
“Guests will be on a strict time limit and the couple will only have a one to two hours alone, and then they’ll have to part ways as well.”
Constable Carroll was shot dead as he responded to a 999 call in Craigavon, Co Armagh, in 2009.
He was the first police officer to be killed since the formation of the PSNI. At the time the dissident republican group, the Continuity IRA, claimed they were responsible for the shooting.
McConville and Wootton had attempted to overturn their convictions but their appeal was dismissed at the High Court in Belfast in May 2014.