Belfast Telegraph

Dalai Lama: murder of Ronan Kerr was a sad, senseless act

The Dalai Lama has branded the killing of a Catholic policeman by dissident republicans a senseless act.

The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader said the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr would serve to heighten divisions between communities.

The 76-year-old was on the first leg of his two-day trip to Ireland, that included events in Dublin, Kildare and Limerick.

“This sort of senseless act does actually not help,” he said.

The Nobel Peace Laureate shook his head when friend Richard Moore of the Children in Crossfire charity recounted the murder, before describing it as “very sad”.

Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process were blamed for the booby trap device that exploded under the 25-year-old policeman's car in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

The Dalai Lama said he had spoken with political and other groups from both communities during his visits north, and suggested dialogue was the only way to solve problems.

He said he was morally committed to the promotion of non-violence.

Before speaking at a sold-out event in Dublin's Citywest hotel, the exiled leader also met with 18-year-old Aoibheann Monaghan, the daughter of Avril Monaghan, who was killed in the 1998 Omagh bomb while pregnant with twins.

Ms Monaghan died with her 18-month-old daughter Maura and mother Mary Grimes in the atrocity, carried out by the Real IRA.

The Dalai Lama praised Aoibheann for the way she had responded to the tragedy.

“Of course sadness there, but no sign of anger, hate. It was wonderful, wonderful,” he said. The Tibetan spiritual leader urged both communities in Northern Ireland to live side-by-side in peace.

“So whether you like it or not, you have to live together.

“So much better, live happily,” he said.

Background

The Dalai Lama has made three visits to Northern Ireland, in 2000, 2005 and 2007, but is focusing on the Republic during his latest trip to the island.

The 76-year-old exiled leader, who fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, was invited to the country by close friend Richard Moore, founder of the Children in Crossfire charity.

Mr Moore, who was blinded by a rubber bullet in Derry at the age of 10, befriended the British soldier who shot him.

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