The murder of prison officer David Black by dissident Irish republicans was an evil deed, carried out by evil men.
David was a fine prisoner officer, who had served through the Troubles, but he was more than that, he was also a son a husband and a father. His elderly parents have lost a son, his wife Yvonne has lost her husband, and his children Kyle and Kyra, have lost their father.
David was also an Orangeman and a member of Montober LOL 661 for approximately thirty years. His death brings to 337 the number of Orangemen who have been murdered by terrorists since 1969.
The murder of David Black was an evil deed but every murder is wrong. It is wrong when a prison officer is murdered today and it was equally wrong when other prison officers were murdered in the course of the Troubles. David was the thirtieth prison worker to be killed since 1974 and every one of those murders was just as evil.
It is imperative that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice. As a society we must show the terrorists that they will not succeed and we must strive to get them off the streets before they are able to carry out further attacks.
I welcome the fact that there has been such widespread revulsion at this killing and I long for the day when those who try to distinguish between recent dissident murders and earlier terrorist murders come to recognise that there is no distinction.