Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 27 November 2014

Irish PM to attend Kerr funeral

A man signs a book of condolence for Pc Ronan Kerr who died when a booby trap bomb detonated under his car
A man signs a book of condolence for Pc Ronan Kerr who died when a booby trap bomb detonated under his car

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny is to attend the funeral of murdered policeman Ronan Kerr to stand in solidarity with his family and show the abhorrence of the Irish people to his murder.

Mr Kenny branded the killing an act of cowardice as the Irish Dail parliament sat for the first time since a car bomb claimed the life of the 25-year-old PSNI officer on Saturday.

"I intend to travel to the funeral of Ronan ...as a statement of solidarity with the Kerr family," Mr Kenny said. "But also as a statement that this parliament here, this Oireachtas, and the vast majority of people on this island abhor what happened here.

"And the person who placed that bomb in the footwell of young Ronan Kerr's vehicle, may from their own warped version be deemed to be somebody of stature, is so false, and so wrong, and so utterly removed from the future of the peoples of this island, that we, by our attendance there, will condemn this unilaterally and without question or hesitation."

Mr Kenny said he had spoken to Mr Kerr's mother Nuala and said he admired her quiet courage and forthrightness in speaking out. He said he supported Mrs Kerr's call that the killing should not deter Catholics from joining the PSNI.

Micheal Martin, leader of Ireland's main opposition party Fianna Fail, will also attend the funeral in the Co Tyrone village of Beragh. Irish president Mary McAleese will be represented by her aide de camp Colonel Mick McMahon.

Mr Martin branded the killing a "horrific act by a cowardly gang of terrorists". At his request, the prime minister backed an all-party motion highlighting the abhorrence of the Dail to the murder.

"It is a shocking attack on the peace process itself," Mr Martin said. "It is a human tragedy of immense proportions for the Kerr family and our sympathies go to the family, to the friends and neighbours of Ronan Kerr."

Mr Kenny said a security briefing with Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan confirmed active and intense cooperation between the gardai and the PSNI.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams branded the killing "dreadful". "It is of the utmost importance that we continue to make it very, very clear that we stand in opposition to this murder, that we stand with the Kerr family," Mr Adams said.

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