David Black

The murder of prison officer David Black in Lurgan, Armagh by dissident IRA members who ambushed his car, was not done in the name of Irish America.

This community has made clear for years now that it stands with the peace process and not with those who wish to continue to visit death and tragedy on the people there.

We agree with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who said "There is no justification for this outrageous and cowardly act. I offer my sincere condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Officer Black, who had a long and distinguished record of service."

It is a futile cause and a death in vain as it only solidifies the belief among the peace process parties and among Irish Americans that the current progress must continue.

It was never going to be a 100 per cent break with the past and violence but the killing of the prison officer, a Protestant, was yet another example of the lunacy at work in some quarters.

Does the killing of a prison officer or a policeman move the goal of a united Ireland one centimeter closer?

Of course not, quite the opposite.  Those who still take up arms despite the wishes of overwhelming majorities in both communities who support the process know that too.

It allows them their stupid delusions of grandeur that they are players in a conflict that has actually ended with  the Good Friday  peace agreement between all sides.

Nobel Prize winner John Hume referred to his goal as that of an agreed Ireland. As far as we can that has been achieved with a huge helping hand from Irish America and President Clinton and other presidents since.

Whether the future holds a united Ireland or the status quo depends on the future generations who will vote on such issues.

It certainly  does not depend on those who will wantonly take life in support of a violent ideal that has now receded into history.

It was heartening to see Northern Ireland’s two leaders, Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness issue a joint statement on the killing, condemning it in the strongest terms.

Such is the only way to proceed in the North. The peace process has now been operational in one form or another since the early 90s. A generation has grown up not knowing violence or the despair of earlier generations.

That is how it should be, persuasion by political means not violence remains the goal of all who wish the peace process well.

We here in America want to reiterate again these killers do not speak for the overwhelming majority of Irish Americans.