Belfast Telegraph

Murdered PSNI officer Ronan Kerr voted Sinn Fein: McGuinness

By Amanda Poole

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness last night claimed Constable Ronan Kerr would have voted Sinn Fein.

Mr McGuinness was addressing a Sinn Fein meeting at the Wellington Park Hotel in South Belfast as part of a ‘town hall’ series of events.

About 120 people were at the meeting to hear Martin McGuinness and Irish TD Mary-Lou McDonald in conversation with writer and political commentator Jude Collins.

They were talking about highlights from their political career and how to stop dissidents with their current campaign.

Mr McGuinness was asked by an audience member whether any “middle ranking or even junior members of Sinn Fein” had joined the PSNI. After a long pause, Martin McGuiness, said; “I went down to see Nuala within hours of her son being killed.

“And it was very obvious from being in that household that many of the family circle were Sinn Fein voters. And I would go so far as to say that Ronan Kerr voted for Sinn Fein, and joined the police because he wanted to be part of change and wanted to support the peace process.”

Blogger Alan Meban was at the meeting. He said: “McGuinness said it in a very matter-of-fact way and it was a largely Sinn Fein audience. It felt uncomfortable and was a difficult thing to hear being said.”

Later Mr McGuinness went on to say that he would be as outraged if a young Protestant policeman was killed in the morning.

Speaking afterwards, Mr McGuinness said: “It’s clear to me from my own first hand experiences that we are now seeing a situation where young people who are very nationalist-minded and republican-minded, who want to contribute to bring a change within policing and who want to support the peace process, have joined the police in the course of recent times.

“And that’s why I have made it absolutely clear that people who are prepared to do that, and I also include in that young Protestants who have joined the police and do so for the best motivations, that if they are prepared to stand by the political process, the politicians have a duty to stand by them.

“I don’t think I was politicising his (Constable Kerr’s) death. It has never been contested that he was an Irishman, that he was nationalist-minded, that he was republican-minded, that he was a supporter of the GAA.”

Comments on the Slugger O’Toole website indicated some in the audience were taken back by McGuinness’ claim.

The website said while the comment was uttered in response to a question that was clearly probing how far Sinn Fein were committed to the outworking of their policing policy, it felt very uncomfortable for the politics and voting record of Constable Kerr to be discussed.

Belfast Telegraph

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