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Police widow horrified at dissident 'show of strength' near scene of Stephen Carroll's murder

By Deborah McAleese

Published 06/04/2015

A masked Continuity IRA gunman fires a volley of shots during the Easter terror display in Lurgan on Saturday
A masked Continuity IRA gunman fires a volley of shots during the Easter terror display in Lurgan on Saturday
Constable Carroll's widow Kate
Flowers are laid at Milltown Cemetery during the Easter commemoration in west Belfast
The main parade makes its way along the Falls Road
Bands walk through the Ardoyne estate in north Belfast
Irish President Michael D Higgins lays a wreath outside the GPO on Dublin’s O’Connell Street

A PSNI widow has said she was horrified that republican terrorists were able to hold a sinister 'show of strength' in broad daylight, close to where they murdered her husband.

Live shots were fired by a Continuity IRA gunman during an Easter terror display at a Co Armagh cemetery on Saturday.

Masked dissident republicans took over St Coleman's Cemetery in Lurgan for Easter Rising Commemorations, during which one of its members made a speech vowing that there would be "no let up in the resistance to British rule".

Their show of strength was held just a few miles from where the terror group murdered PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll as he responded to an emergency call in the nearby Lismore Estate in 2009.

Constable Carroll's widow Kate said she was "dismayed" and "horrified" that the group was able to carry out a show of strength in public.

"I just feel totally dejected and worn out hearing about this. It feels like they will never stop. Every news report or news bulletin seems to be about what those people are doing," Kate said.

She added: "I just can't see what they think they are going to achieve. They pose great danger at a time of peace. We have got a chance at peace and then they try to destroy it."

Kate said it would have been too dangerous for the police to go in and make arrests during the show of strength.

"They would be shot, just like my Stevie. These people just seem to hold the place to ransom. Wouldn't it be great if those in the community who know who these people are would tell police? Only then could we hope for real peace," she said.

Kate added: "We are trying to move on in Northern Ireland, we are trying to keep the peace process going and no one wants to have to live with this danger and this violence."

A lack of visible security presence at Saturday's terror display has led to questions over the PSNI's decision not to police the event.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson has called on police to arrest those involved in the show of strength.

"I'm very concerned that guns were produced and that shots were fired. Police need to investigate who organised and took part in this sinister show of strength. Given that there was no distinguishable police presence, this raises questions as to who made this decision and why," he said.

PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll was killed by the terror organisation in 2009. The officer (48) from Banbridge, was the first policeman killed by republican terrorists since the peace process reforms which saw the Royal Ulster Constabulary replaced by the new-look PSNI.

He was shot dead two days after two British soldiers were murdered in a Real IRA gun attack outside their barracks in Antrim town.

Mr Carroll died of a single gunshot wound to the head sustained as he sat in an unmarked police car while colleagues attended a 999 call in the Lismore Manor area.

A brick had been thrown through the window of a house in the private development an hour earlier, prompting the occupants to call the police.

The gun used in the attack, an AK47 assault rifle, was found hidden beneath an oil tank, wrapped in a black bin bag and cling film, in the garden of a house not far from where the officer was murdered. Brendan McConville (43), and John Paul Wootton (23), were found guilty at Belfast Crown Court of murdering the officer.

Last year security forces launched a major anti-terror operation against the Continuity IRA.

In November, officers from an elite anti-terrorism squad swooped on a house in Ardcarn Park in Newry following months of covert investigations into dissident republican terrorism and arrested 12 men. MI5 had bugged the house and recorded 65 hours of meetings. Seven of those arrested have been remanded in custody at Maghaberry Prison to await trial.


Shots were fired during an Easter terror display in a Co Armagh cemetery on Saturday by a dissident republican gunman. There was no visible security presence in the area. The Continuity IRA's show of strength was held just a few miles from where the terror group murdered PSNI Constable Stephen Carroll in 2009 as he responded to a 999 call.

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