Derry’s Catholic and Protestant Bishops last night travelled together to visit the grieving family of murdered PSNI officer Ronan Kerr.
In what’s being viewed as an unmistakable show of cross-community solidarity, Bishops Seamus Hegarty and Ken Good joined forces to send out a clear message to those behind Saturday’s car bomb attack, in which the 25 year-old Catholic policeman was killed.
Dr. Hegarty, the Catholic Bishop of Derry, said the murder of the GAA enthusiast was “shocking and sinful.”
He added: “This crime, against a man who served and protected the public, is a crime against all in our society. The police, who serve and protect us, are deserving of our support. I reiterate my support, both personally and as the Bishop of the Diocese of Derry, for those who serve the community as police officers and the right of young men and women to join the police.
“I call upon anyone with information regarding this brutal killing to provide that information to the police.”
Bishop Good, the Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, said those behind the bombing would have to “answer not only to their conscience but to their maker.”
“There are no words to adequately describe the inhumanity of the murder of a young PSNI officer in Omagh,” he said. “The cruelty and shame of those who committed this act, either in planting the device or in supplying of information, is displayed to all of the world. It has brought needless devastation to the family of this young officer.”
Meanwhile, the North’s Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said dissident republicans engaged in violence are “enemies of the peace, enemies of the people of Ireland”. He added that many young nationalists and republicans had joined the police and he was “as proud of them as Nuala Kerr was of Ronan”.
He said he was completely united with First Minister Peter Robinson in his support for the police.
“We are not going away. We represent the people. I represent the people of County Tyrone. I represent the people of Ireland,” Mr McGuinness said. “We are the people who will prevail.”