Belfast Telegraph

Mother of murdered officer Ronan Kerr accepts his university award

The mother of murdered policeman Ronan Kerr has received an academic excellence award that her son attained as a new recruit.

Nuala Kerr was presented with his certificate in policing with commendation by actor and University of Ulster chancellor James Nesbitt at Belfast's Waterfront Hall.

Constable Kerr was only weeks out of training when he was killed in a dissident republican booby-trap car bomb outside his home in Omagh, Co Tyrone, in March.

As a Catholic and Gaelic games enthusiast, the young policeman was targeted by the extremists in a bid to scare off other nationalists from joining the new-look police service.

In the wake of his murder his mother won praise the world over for her heartfelt plea to young Catholics not to be put off signing up to serve the community.

Along with family members, she travelled from Tyrone to receive her son's higher education certificate, which he completed through the University of Ulster during his PSNI training.

Handing over the parchment, actor Nesbitt paid tribute to the courage of the Kerr family in the aftermath of the murder.

"Ronan was a dedicated and conscientious student, respected by staff and students alike," he said. "We hope very much that this presentation today may bring some small comfort and help people remember Ronan's many achievements in his short life. Our thoughts are with you always."

Visibly emotional, Mrs Kerr thanked the university for the gesture as she received the award.

The family intend to establish a trust fund in Ronan's memory in the near future.

The booby-trap bomb that killed the 25-year-old was made up of 500g of high explosives and was planted just yards from the Omagh half-marathon route in the Co Tyrone town by dissident republicans.

It was placed inside a plastic box which had been attached under his car.

Background

The GAA and PSNI held an unprecedented joint guard of honour for Constable Kerr at his funeral in Beragh, Co Tyrone. It was attended by political leaders from across Ireland including Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson.

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