Grieving mum tells Catholics in police force to keep faith
Published 04/04/2011 | 07:37
The mother of a Catholic police officer murdered in Northern Ireland said his death should not be in vain as she urged others to join the force.
Nuala Kerr, whose son Ronan (25) died on Saturday when a booby-trap bomb exploded as he got into his car in Omagh, Co Tyrone, said everybody was aiming for a neutral police service.
The grieving mother said: "This is at a time when we are striving for a neutral police force for the good of our country and I urge all Catholic members not to be deterred by this. We all need to stand up and be counted and to strive for equality. We don't want to go back into the dark days again of fear and terror. We were so proud of Ronan and all that he stood for. Don't let his death be in vain."
Politicians from across the community have urged unity after the suspected dissident republican attack killed the new recruit as he went to work in Enniskillen.
Mrs Kerr said she was also speaking on behalf of Ronan's two brothers, Cathair and Aaron, and loving sister Dairine. Their father Brian died some time ago.
"He was a wonderful son and brother, always had a smile for everyone. He had all the attributes of a great police officer -- fair, empathetic, intelligent, humorous, and loyal to all who knew him. And he just loved his work," she said.
"I would like to appeal to the wider public for any information, no matter how small, about this callous crime. Someone knows something. Would you please come forward so that justice can be done."
The young constable has become the second policeman to be killed since the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was formed in 2001.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore revealed yesterday that Constable Kerr's brother apparently first learnt of the tragedy on the Facebook website as he travelled home from Australia.
His murder drew universal condemnation from across the island, as police chiefs on both sides of the Border pledged to hunt down his killers.
PSNI Chief Constable Matt Baggott said: "I can't imagine what they (the family) are going through but I saw their grief at first hand."
Referring to the killers, he said: "We need these people to be taken out of communities and given up so that justice can be done."
Constable Kerr joined the PSNI's police training college at Garnervill in May 2010 and began his on-the-job training only last December. He first joined the neighbourhood policing team in Enniskillen before moving to a response role at the end of last month as part of his career development.