The mother of the Catholic policeman murdered in Omagh on Saturday has pleased that her son’s horrific death is not in vain.
Ronan Kerr, a 25-year-old GAA player from a nationalist background, was blown up by dissident Republicans as he prepared to leave for his first day’s work as a fully qualified officer.
A booby-trap bomb exploded under Kerr’s car as he left his family home on the outskirts of Omagh to report to his new station in Enniskillen.
The murder has horrified locals and politicians on both sides of the Irish border as dissident Republicans step up their campaign of hate and violence against Catholic members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
Ronan’s grieving mother Nuala Kerr said: “This is at a time when we are striving for a neutral police force for the good of our country and I urge all Catholic members not to be deterred by this.
“We all need to stand up and be counted and to strive for equality. We don’t want to go back into the dark days again of fear and terror. We were so proud of Ronan and all that he stood for. Don’t let his death be in vain.”
Ronan Kerr, whose father Brian died some time ago, is also survived by his brothers Cathair and Aaron and sister Dairine.
His mother added: “He was a wonderful son and brother, always had a smile for everyone. He had all the attributes of a great police officer - fair, empathetic, intelligent, humorous, and loyal to all who knew him. And he just loved his work.
“I would like to appeal to the wider public for any information, no matter how small, about this callous crime. Someone knows something. Would you please come forward so that justice can be done.”
Kerr is only the second policeman to be killed in the line of duty since the PSNI was established in 2001. Chief Constable Matt Baggott visited the family to offer his condolences on Sunday.
PSNI Chief Baggott said: “I can’t imagine what the family are going through but I saw their grief at first hand.”
Investigations into Kerr’s murder are already underway. Chief Baggott added: “We need these people to be taken out of communities and given up so that justice can be done.”
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