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Fellow officer’s grief for much loved colleague Ronan Kerr

By Patrice Dougan

A police constable who worked alongside murdered Ronan Kerr has said his death was a “complete tragedy”.

Speaking after the funeral of the 25-year-old, who was brutally killed by a car bomb at the weekend, the visibly upset officer said the service had been “touching” and “very moving”.

“Everybody had nothing but good words to say about him,” the young constable, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

“It’s a complete tragedy. We were working with him over the past while, and one night he’s working with us and the next night you’re sitting around the desk and he’s not there.

“It must be absolutely devastating for his family and close friends.”

Janice Owens and daughter Eilish held a Beragh Red Knights jersey. They said they had attended the funeral to show their support for the Kerr family.

“I thought it was a lovely service, very touching,” said Janice.

“Everybody has come out.

“It’s too bad, Ronan was lovely.

“My son went to school with those boys, Ronan, Cathair and Aaron, they’re all around the one age group, but he’s just started a new job in Edinburgh and he couldn’t come over for the funeral.”

Eilish said Fr Skinnader’s homily had been a suitable tribute to the young officer. Bridget and Raymond McLaughlin, who travelled from Donegal to attend the funeral, said they wanted to make a stand against those who had taken Constable Kerr’s life.

“We are friends of the deceased’s father, Brian, from years back, but we moved away and lost touch over the years,” said Raymond.

“His father was light-hearted and it seems as if the young chap was the same.”

He said the service had been “very sad, but lovely”.

“But I think it shows a side to Northern Ireland that isn’t seen that much, which is comforting. It was good to see both sides speaking out. I don’t think anybody could leave that thinking there was any ambiguity.

“It’s important, that’s why we went today. We live in Donegal and we came here because it’s important to come and stand there and show our support not just for the family but the whole big picture, to send out a message.

“I think there was a lot of people there to send out that message.”

His wife Bridget said they had been shocked to hear Constable Kerr’s name on the news as the young officer who had been killed in a car bomb. She added: “I thought there was very strong symbolism to see the GAA and police standing together, it was very nice to see. I think people are beginning to stop being afraid.”

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