Belfast Telegraph

Condemnation of terror not enough

Once again the defiant people of Omagh have sent a clear message to the men of violence. Thousands turned out yesterday to show their support for the family of murdered policeman, Constable Ronan Kerr, and to express their revulsion at his death. The people of that town know better than anyone the horror and futility of violence and by their numbers they showed that they will never be cowed by terrorism.

Dissident republicans are isolated and with only marginal support in the wider community but, as the murder of Constable Kerr and the discovery of a huge bomb near Newry demonstrate, they are still dangerous foes capable of inflicting misery.

Their total disregard for the will of the community and for the sanctity of human life shows just how far beyond the Pale they really are. They appear immune to reason or pleas for an end to their campaign, even though they must realise that it is fruitless.

As Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness pointed out, the latest atrocity by dissidents has merely served to rally former foes to a common cause of defeating terrorism. Never has the community been so united in its detestation of violence and those who perpetrate it.

It may be of little consolation to the Kerr family circle at this time of intense personal grief, but the demonstration showed that they do not grieve alone.

However, protest and words of condemnation are not enough. If they were, then violence would be a distant memory. It is up to everyone with even the merest scrap of information about dissident terrorist activity to relay it to the police.

Courageous young men like Ronan Kerr have joined the PSNI to ensure that the rule of law is upheld fairly throughout the community. It is up to all of us to repay their courage by assisting them to catch his killers and to lock them up for a very long time.

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