The north's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness was not welcome to attend the funeral yesterday of David Black, 52, the first prison warden to be shot dead by paramilitaries in 20 years.
According to The Sun, bereaved family members refused the offer from McGuinness to attend. Black was ambushed by dissident republicans as he drove to work at Maghaberry Prison in County Antrim last Thursday.
Yesterday Black's colleagues from the Northern Ireland Prison Service reportedly carried his coffin at his funeral on Tuesday as a kilt-wearing bagpiper played a lament through the empty streets of Cookstown, County Tyrone.
Family members, including his son Kyle, brought the married father-of-two's body on the final few steps into Molesworth Presbyterian Church.
According to The Star, First Minister Peter Robinson, PSNI chief constable Matt Baggott and Northern Secretary Theresa Villiers all attended to hear the head of the Presbyterian Church, Dr Roy Patton, claim the attack was an attack on the whole community.
'We are together in this, totally united as churches, politicians, civic society, ordinary men and women who feel for you today in your unspeakable loss, and who in the strongest possible terms are outraged by such an evil deed,' he said, making no reference to McGuinness' absence. 'This attack on a prison officer was an attack on this whole community.'
'As a people we stand together as those who have chosen a different way than the way of violence, that we have no desire whatsoever to be dragged back into the darkness, that what you have brought about in the death of David Black is totally unacceptable as far as we are concerned as well as being totally wrong in the eyes of God,' he added.
First Minister Peter Robinson told the press that top security must be given to prison officers to prevent a repeat of Black's brutal killing. Black is the first prison officer to be killed by paramilitaries since 1993.
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