Sunday, 3 April 2011

Murder in Omagh

Yesterday dissident republicans murdered Ronan Kerr in Omagh.  He was a young man who had grown up in a loving and caring family in a beautiful rural part of Tyrone, near Beragh..  He was also a Roman Catholic and recently he had joined the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

This afternoon I visited the family home, along with Peter Robinson, Nigel Dodds and Arlene Foster, to express our sympathy to his mother Nuala and the family circle.  Nuala had lost her husband to cancer some time ago and now she has also lost a son at the hands of wicked men. 

Today is Mother's Day but for her Mother's Day will never be the same again.  Her loss is great and the hurt is deep but she has the support of her family and friends and the sympathy of the overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland.

As we talked, Ronan's mother spoke of a loving son with a warm personality who would brighten up the room when he arrived.  She spoke of a son who was good at dealing with people and defusing difficult situations.  He was just the sort of young man we need in the PSNI and yet his service was cut short after just twelve weeks.

This was a cold and callous murder carried out by men who have no respect or regard for human life.  They are driven by a fanatical devotion to a cause and by hatred of those who stand in their way.  Their primary targets are members of the PSNI and following on the murder of Stephen Carroll in March 2009 it is clear that they are intent on targetting Roman Catholic members of the PSNI.

All of the main political parties have condemned this terrible murder and affirmed their support for the PSNI.  Those who planned and perpetrated this crime must now be pursued with the utmost vigour and anyone with relevant information must provide that to the PSNI as soon as possible.  If we want to see an end to such murders then those responsible must be put behind bars, where they belong.

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