Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Funeral for murdered prison officer

The funeral for murdered Northern Ireland prison officer David Black will take place on Tuesday, it has been confirmed.

The service will be held at Molesworth Presbyterian Church in Cookstown, where the 52 year-old father-of-two had attended regularly.

Mr Black, who had served more than 30 years' with the prison service, was gunned down on Thursday during a high-speed ambush on a motorway as he drove to work at Maghaberry high-security prison. He had been planning to retire next year.

Two men, including prominent dissident republican Colin Duffy, were arrested on Friday morning before a 29-year-old suspect was detained in the Irish Republic on Friday night. All three remain in police custody.

Duffy, 44, was arrested with a second man in Lurgan, Co Armagh, just miles from where Mr Black was shot. Both are being questioned by detectives from the PSNI serious crime branch at Antrim. The 29-year-old suspect arrested in Co Leitrim was taken to Carrick-On-Shannon garda station under Section 30 Offences Against the State Act 1939, said Irish police.

On Friday night US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threw her weight behind the wave of condemnation and branded the killing a cowardly and senseless action. Mrs Clinton, who has been a key figure in the peace process, applauded the efforts of police to bring the perpetrators to justice.

She said: "There is no justification for this outrageous and cowardly act. I offer my sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of officer Black, who had a long and distinguished record of service. The United States remains resolute in support of the people of Northern Ireland, who have condemned violence and embraced the path to peace and reconciliation."

Politicians on all sides have spoken out against the murder which has been blamed on dissident republicans.

Enda Kenny, the Irish Republic's prime minister (Taoiseach), who was in Armagh for talks with Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, said the dissidents had been linked to criminality and drug dealing which had also led to deaths on the streets of Dublin. Dissidents are also believed to have been responsible for shooting dead a small time criminal Danny McKay in Co Antrim last week.

Mr Black's widow Yvonne has made repeated calls for there to be no retaliation for her husband's death.

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