Thursday 14 December 2017

Maurice Hayes: North's political successes must not be marred by cowardly murder

Maurice Hayes

Maurice Hayes

THE cruel and cowardly murder of Constable Ronan Kerr should not be read as a sign of the frailty of the political institutions in Northern Ireland, but a challenge provoked by their relative success. It also constitutes a challenge to elected politicians to carry the process through to stability and the efficient delivery of services.

More specifically, the attack on Mr Kerr is evidence of a viciously sectarian strategy targeting Catholic members of PSNI, aimed at encouraging them to leave the service, and deterring other young Catholics from joining. This would roll back the Patten reforms, transforming the service into a Protestant force, which could be vilified and attacked as an instrument of oppression.

PSNI is now the first line of defence of community values and public safety and it deserves public support, not only by maintaining the flow of recruits, but more pressingly in the present circumstances, the flow of information and intelligence. It is far past the time when the criminal activities of those who would cynically wreck what has been built with so much pain and suffering on both sides of the community should be protected by some romantic cloak of omerta.

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