Killers of Northern Ireland policeman 'isolated'

4th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness said Monday the killers of a police officer were completely "isolated" and "enemies" of peace in the British-controlled province.

Police were combing the scene on the outskirts of the town of Omagh where a bomb exploded under the car of Constable Ronan Kerr, 25, as he was leaving home to go to work on Saturday.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but suspicion has fallen on Catholic dissident republican groups who oppose the peace process which has largely ended three decades of sectarian bombings and murders in the province.

"The people who murdered Ronan Kerr need to consider how isolated they are and they need to bring their activities to an immediate end," McGuinness said.

"They are involved in a useless war against peace, they are enemies of the peace, they are the enemies of the people of Ireland."

First Minister Peter Robinson said the anger at the murder "indicates we have support right across this community for the new era that we have entered and support for the police who are carrying out their activities in the most difficult of circumstances".

It was the first murder of a policeman in Northern Ireland since 2009, when an officer was shot dead by dissident republicans.

Kerr was one of a growing number of Catholics in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), which in its previous guise of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) was overwhelmingly Protestant until it was reformed in 2001.

The murder in Omagh, where dissident group the Real IRA killed 29 people in 1998 in the worst single atrocity of the years known as the Troubles, has raised fears of an attack when Queen Elizabeth II visits Dublin next month.

© 2011 AFP

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