Anti-violence activists honoured
Published 14/01/2013 | 21:41
A peace foundation in memory of the first Police Service of Northern Ireland officer to be murdered is to honour two young anti-violence activists.
The Steve Carroll Foundation is highlighting the contribution to peace made by young people who show their commitment to a shared future.
Constable Carroll, 48, was shot dead while on duty in Craigavon, Co Armagh, in March 2009 by the Continuity IRA. Two men are serving jail terms for his murder.
His widow Kate Carroll said: "I firmly believe we as a community have a moral duty to continue Steve's vision of young people being able to enact change and bring lasting peace where it is so desperately needed."
Students Enya Doyle and Lauren Sloan established a cross-community social media movement lobbying for equality of sentencing in murder trials following the conviction of Mr Carroll's killers. His widow expressed disgust at the 14-year minimum term imposed on one of those found guilty.
The foundation was launched at Stormont on Monday. It has created a set of annual peace awards, presented at the launch to the students. Mr Carroll was born near London and lived in Co Kildare for a period before marrying his wife in 1985 and making Banbridge, Co Down, his home.
Mrs Carroll said: "I don't want my late husband to become yet another forgotten statistic. He was not just my soul mate and a terrific husband, son, father, grandfather, brother and family man, above all he was a totally dedicated community police officer who was passionately committed to helping young people. I want that commitment to be his legacy and this is why I am launching the Steve Carroll Foundation in his memory."
Ms Doyle and Ms Sloan established a cross-community peace movement based around a Celtic music ensemble called Not in My Name, formed in response to the policeman's killing. It included music from all communities and used concerts to promote peace. Ms Doyle, from Lurgan, Co Armagh, and Ms Sloan, from Banbridge, set up the organisation, which helped inspire a mass rally for peace following the murder of PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr by dissidents in 2011.
Ms Doyle, a Durham University law student, received the Beacon of Hope scholarship for her sustained contribution to peace. "This foundation offers us all an alternative Northern Ireland and one that I want to be engaging with. Violence is never justified and we will not stall in our fervour for a safer, shared future here," she said.
Ms Sloan, a music student at Durham, received the Northern Ireland Youth for Justice Campaigner Prize for her dedication to promoting justice. "The horrific scenes of youths battling police and the streets I know so well erupting into riot grounds is neither the Northern Ireland that I remember nor want to promote," she added.