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Northern Ireland policeman killed by car bomb

Political, civic, church leaders and sporting figures unite to condemn the murder of young policeman Ronan Kerr by dissident Irish republicans.

Political, civic, church leaders and sporting figures unite to condemn the murder of young policeman Ronan Kerr by dissident Irish republicans.

Ronan Kerr, a recent recruit to the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland), was killed on April 2nd by a booby trap bomb as he entered his car, which was parked outside his house in Omagh.

Police Constable Kerr, 25, was a Catholic and a member of Tyrone GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association). He is believed to have been murdered by an Irish republican dissident group targeting Catholic officers in an attempt to deter Irish nationalists from joining the PSNI.

The murder was condemned by political, civic, religious leaders and sporting figures.

First Minister Peter Robinson said: “I have absolutely no doubt the overwhelming number of people in Northern Ireland want to move on. It’s only a few Neanderthals who want to go back. They will not drag us back to the past.”

Deputy Fist Minister Martin McGuinness said: "These are people who are pledged to destroy the peace and destroy a peace process that many of us have invested much of our adult lives in trying to bring about."

US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said the murderers “represent the failures of the past, and their actions run counter to the achievements, aspirations and collective will of the people of Northern Ireland.”

Among the hundreds of mourners that attended Ronan Kerr's funeral there were the four main church leaders, sports figures, unionist and republican leaders, representatives of the Irish and British governments, and the First Minister and Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.

A few days after the murder, one man was arrested in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, and another one in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Catholic participation in policing in Northern Ireland has increased substantially over the past years. While during the worst of the Troubles less than 10% police officers in the the former Royal Ulster Constabulary were Catholics, the percentage has risen steadily to almost 30% in the PSNI.

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