€57,000 reward on offer after murder of policeman
TAOISEACH Enda Kenny last night secured the backing of the entire Dail to pass a motion today condemning the "callous murder" of PSNI constable Ronan Kerr.
It came as a £50,000 (€57,000) reward was offered by the Crimestoppers charity for information that will help detectives catch the dissident republican killers of the young Catholic policeman.
As political leaders prepared to travel to his funeral in Beragh, Co Tyrone today, there was united condemnation of the murder from all parties in the Dail last night.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, who will be attending the funeral this morning, condemned what he said was an "act of cowardice". And he described how impressed he was with the young man's mother, Nuala, when he phoned to express his condolences.
"Despite her loss, she welcomed my call and spoke so warmly and with immense pride about her son," he said.
Constable Kerr (25) died in Omagh last Saturday when a booby-trap bomb detonated under his car. Police said the device was the size of a lunch box packed with around a pound of high explosives.
His remains were returned to his mother's home in Beragh last night. Constable Kerr had played Gaelic football for the Beragh Red Knights.
Mr Kenny, the North's DUP First Minister Peter Robinson and Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness are due to attend today's funeral in a symbolic demonstration of cross-community unity in opposition to the violent extremists.
Sinn Fein's Dail leader Gerry Adams said there was a need to keep encouraging young nationalists and republicans to join the PSNI. He also renewed his offer to speak to any dissident group or their supporters about the "futility of armed actions".
"The war is over. The IRA is gone. There's no excuse or justification or explanation that can validate the murder of Ronan Kerr," he said.
But the extent of the challenge facing the governments North and South was highlighted by the discovery of offensive graffiti relating to the murder of Constable Kerr on a gable end wall in Derry yesterday.
The graffiti, part of which referred to "GAA cops" said: "Ha Ha Ronan" and "2 down and more 2 come if use (sic) join the RUC". It was daubed on the wall in the strongly nationalist Bogside area in the city.
The graffiti was removed by community workers yesterday.