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Kerr family call on all sides to vote for peace

The family of a murdered police officer has called on all sides to back the peace process by voting in Thursday's elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

A statement from the family of Constable Ronan Kerr said: "This is our only democratic means to reaffirm our need for peace,"

Constable Kerr, 25, a Catholic, was blown up when a bomb exploded underneath his car outside his home in Omagh, Co Tyrone, last month.

Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process were responsible for the attack.

Some of the parties who finish campaigning later today fear Thursday's turn-out could be low because of public apathy.

But Constable Kerr's family from Beragh, Co Tyrone, said they wanted everyone to continue supporting the 1998 Good Friday Agreement by going to the polls.

They said it did not matter which party they voted for, as long as they backed the peace process.

A statement added: "We are all working for a common goal and the need to stand firm together on this, playing our part in bringing about change.

"By not voting, we are allowing the men of violence control and power over our lives. By exercising our democratic right to vote, we are condemning violence, ensuring power sharing and mutual respect and supporting law and order in our country.

"We need politicians and a police force to represent and protect all sections of our community. We need to use this opportunity to have our say and we each have to take responsibility for ensuring we have a peaceful country, free of fear and intimidation and providing us all hope for the future."