Belfast Telegraph

Song is a hurtful publicity stunt

Editor's Viewpoint

Kate Carroll has behaved with great dignity and fortitude since her husband, PSNI Constable Stephen, was shot dead by dissident IRA terrorists in 2009. Like so many who have been bereaved through terrorism she has borne her loss with stoicism, demanding only justice for the grave injustice foisted upon her.

She has spoken movingly on many occasions - including when she was awarded this newspaper's Woman of the Year title - of the grief she endures daily since the death of her beloved husband. Only those who have walked in her shoes can really understand how her life has been devastated, of the gaping hole that has been left in her every waking moment and how a life of love and joyous expectation was turned in an instant into one of darkness and despair.

Kate demanded that the original sentences given to one of the men convicted of her husband's killing should be increased to reflect true justice, and the Court of Appeal agreed last year.

But now she has to endure a fresh agony. Supporters of the two men convicted of the murder have launched a song protesting their innocence and Respect Party MP - a horrible misnomer in this instance - George Galloway has joined in the campaign to make it a chart topper on iTunes.

Of course the supporters of the two men are fully entitled to protest their innocence if they feel they are victims of a miscarriage of justice, but that should not be by way of metaphorically singing on the grave of the murdered police officer. They should use the full rigours of the justice system to press their case, just as Kate did with her campaign to have one of the sentences increased. That would be the dignified and respectful way to proceed.

Mr Galloway's actions are equally disrespectful. He likewise is entitled to demand a fresh look at the evidence against the convicted duo, but not support what is nothing less than a hurtful publicity stunt.

Many fair-minded people will agree with the Mayor of Craigavon, who has asked the Apple Corporation and the BBC to ban the song. Omagh district council has also expressed its distaste at this campaign.

What this sad story underlines is how the feelings of those bereaved are often disregarded. We have to deal with the past sensitively and ensure, as far as possible, that those who have suffered do not do so again.

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