Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Police widow Kate Carroll's words a stark reminder of what we all stand to lose if sectarian violence takes hold again

Kate Carroll
Kate Carroll

Editor's Viewpoint

Today we publish a poignant and thought-provoking interview with Kate Carroll whose policeman husband Stephen was murdered by Continuity IRA members on March 9, 2009.

The tenth anniversary of that horrific killing brings back memories and thoughts of what might have been, and sadly what the reality is today for Kate and her wider family.

She expresses clearly the sadness of it all, the futility of violence, and her fears that the dark days of the Troubles may return if things go from bad to worse.

She also voices her sympathy for the families of the two soldiers murdered by republican dissidents at Massereene Barracks in Antrim, only two days before her husband's cruel death.

She underlines how the reality of death haunts the families and friends long after the atrocities.

Constable Stephen Carroll and Sappers Patrick Azimkar and Mark Quinsey were victims of violence long after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement which brought so many hopes of a better future for us all.

Kate Carroll describes how, following her husband's death, the then political leaders Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness visited her to show solidarity with her suffering and loss.

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They literally stood shoulder to shoulder against violence from every quarter. Many will agree with Kate's view that if these politicians were still at the helm today "things would be very different here, and definitely less sectarian."

Sadly things have changed, with a long, bruising deadlock at Stormont, and constantly bitter exchanges between senior figures from the main political parties.

Brexit has further added to the tension not only within Northern Ireland but also between London, Dublin and Brussels.

Mrs Carroll's words remind us what happens to ordinary people when unspeakably awful things take place. It is up to all of us to do our best to soften the divisions, and to work together for the good of all.

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