How PSNI widow is honouring the memory of fallen officer Stephen Carroll
Police widow Kate Carroll is to launch a foundation in memory of her murdered husband at Stormont this month — to promote his spirit and hopes of peace.
The Steve Carroll Foundation will highlight the contribution to peace made by young people who show their commitment to a shared future.
Constable Carroll was shot dead by the Continuity IRA in Craigavon in 2009 after responding to a 999 call.
Last night, his widow Kate told the Belfast Telegraph how she wanted to create a legacy for Stephen, commemorating his sincerity and promoting the ideals of democracy and social justice.
The first seeds of the idea were sown after Stephen’s murder when she was contacted by 15-year-old Enya Doyle from Lurgan.
“She had written to me and expressed her revulsion at how these people had killed him and said it wasn’t in her name,” Kate said. “She was 15 years old and I thought that was very mature, considering that a 17-year-old was being held in connection with Stephen's murder.”
Kate and Enya kept in touch. Enya had founded a Celtic Community Ensemble which performed at the dedication of a plaque commemorating Stephen at the PSNI station where he had worked and also played at venues and events reaching out to both sides of the community.
Kate later nominated Enya for an award and Enya and her schoolmate Lauren Sloan are youth ambassadors with the Foundation.
The next step will be to launch the Foundation which will award a Beacon of Hope scholarship to a young person.
“The Beacon of Hope scholarship is for exceptional young role models who have made a significant contribution to lasting peace within Northern Ireland,” Kate said.
The Foundation will also be awarding medals to young people who have worked to tackle the root causes of sectarianism and street crime in Northern Ireland. An award will also be created to recognise a teacher who has done outstanding work to inspire young people to work together for a shared future.
Since Stephen’s death, Kate has met many young people who are working to change things.
“It proves to me that there are good people out there and people who want to make a change,” she said.
“I’ve heard numerous times in the last few years this ‘not in our name — it’s just a few people who want to cause mayhem’.”
Stephen Carroll, from Banbridge, was the first PSNI officer killed by terrorists. Responsibility for the attack, in March 2009, was claimed by the Continuity IRA. He died of a single gunshot to the head as he sat in an unmarked police car after he and colleagues attended a 999 call in the Lismore Manor area of Craigavon. A brick had been thrown through the window of a house. Two men were convicted of the murder.