Family of murdered prison officer Adrian Ismay 'totally and utterly devastated'
Published 16/03/2016 | 20:14
The family of murdered prison officer Adrian Ismay are utterly devastated by their loss, colleagues have said.
Finlay Spratt, chairman of the Prison Officers Association in Northern Ireland, said he had visited the 52-year-old's wife and three daughters today.
He said: "They are just totally and utterly devastated.
"This man was a servant of the community. He had an amazing record both within the prison service and outside, as a volunteer. You name it, he did it.
"He served everybody in the community."
Sean McCarry, from the Community Rescue Service with which Mr Ismay volunteered, also paid tribute.
He said: "Adrian spent tireless hours trying to save people's lives.
"This was not just an attack on Adrian, this was an attack on society as a whole.
"Adrian spent his time going out and saving lives, not taking lives, he was trying to build communities, not destroy communities, and that's the truth about the man who was murdered."
Church and political leaders have united in expressing revulsion at the attack by dissident republicans who are opposed to the peace process.
Stormont Justice Minister David Ford said those responsible for planting the device had little regard for life.
He said: "I am shocked to learn Adrian has died as a direct result of the actions of people who have obviously little regard for the lives of those who serve the community.
"This is shocking news and will be even more painful for Adrian's family and prison service colleagues."
Prison staff in the Republic of Ireland have also expressed disgust.
A statement from the Prison Officers' Association said: "Adrian was the victim of a cowardly and atrocious bomb attack while he was driving to work.
"This was a horrendous act that has no place or serves no purpose on this island.
"A shameful and cowardly act such as this is reminiscent of difficult times that we all thought were left in the past."
Anne Connolly, chairman of the Policing Board, expressed condolences to the officer's family.
She said: "We are ever grateful to those who work to keep our community safe and people in our community share the sadness now being felt by those who knew Adrian best.
"Serving the community for over 28 years, Adrian's contribution to society through his work in the prison service and volunteer roles is in stark contrast to those who carried out this vile attack."
Ms Connolly urged anyone with information to bring it to police.