Cardinal calls for end violence
The head of the Catholic church in Ireland called for an end to the futility and evil of violence in a powerful statement at Pc Ronan Kerr's funeral today.
Cardinal Sean Brady said the people rejected those blamed for killing the new recruit, 25, on Saturday. He pleaded with parents not to allow their young people to become involved in violence. Police believe dissident republicans are responsible.
The Cardinal told mourners: "The people have said no, never again, to the evil and futility of violence. They have said an emphatic no to the murder and mayhem of the past. Let there be no doubt that the killing of Ronan Kerr was totally unjustified.
"It was an evil deed, an offence against God and a complete rejection of the belief that human life is sacred."
Cardinal Brady added: "Parents and grandparents, I beg you, plead with your children and with your grandchildren not to get involved with violence.
"Never let them be deceived by those who say that Ireland will be united or the union made more secure by war. They are wrong. It is an illusion. Violence has nothing, absolutely nothing, to offer except misery and destruction.
"Choose life, I say, choose goodness, choose peace. That is what God is asking of you. That is what the people of all traditions have been saying to all of us, loud and clear, since the moment of Ronan's tragic death on Saturday last - 'We do not want this. You do not act in our name.' In God's name stop - and stop now!"
He was greeted with waves of applause.
Family relative Fr John Skinnader told mourners he saw the enthusiastic new recruit sitting behind the wheel of a police car last weekend.
"I thought to myself: there is the symbol of the new Northern Ireland, a young man living out his childhood dream to be of service to others, to help protect, make life safer for others, to be a peace-builder in communities and between communities," he said.
Fr Skinnader added: "Ronan and most of his generation are proud of their culture and their faith tradition, but for them it is a faith and a tradition without walls, that is inclusive not exclusive, that unites rather than divides."
Pc Kerr's brother Aaron read a poem of tribute but said the perfect words escaped him. He partly broke down during the verse.
He said: "He spoke about the icing on the cake at his 21st birthday and the celebrations of his friends and family."
"I never thought what was next would bring us to tears but now is not the time to weep, Ronan passed quickly and softly to sleep," he said.
The coffin was interred at the cemetery at the Church of St Patrick in nearby Drumduff, where Pc Kerr grew up.