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Statement by the Tánaiste on the murder of PSNI Officer Ronan Kerr

Northern Ireland Peace Process, Press Releases, Northern Ireland, 2011

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamonn Gilmore, addressed the Dáil this evening on the murder of PSNI Officer Ronan Kerr.

“Ronan Kerr chose to build a career in a transformed police service, increasingly representative of the whole community and supported across the political spectrum.

It is this very openness, this positive change that Ronan’s murderers fear.  And so they seek to deny change by callous acts of violence and intimidation.

But they will not succeed because the ordinary men and women of this island will not allow it.  We will not be bullied back down the blind alleys of the past.”

The Tánaiste expressed his sympathy to the family of Ronan Kerr for their loss,

“Our thoughts today are turned towards Ronan Kerr. We offer our profound sympathies to his family, his friends and the PSNI on the loss of a beloved son, brother, friend and colleague.

Here in this House, we share in that sense of loss. Ronan Kerr was a young and publicly spirited man who personified much of what is best in our young people. Last Saturday, the evil actions of a few deprived the people of this island of a fine Irishman; a committed public servant; a policeman who sought to devote himself to the protection and wellbeing of his community.”

The Tánaiste also dismissed any claims by those responsible that they are acting for the Irish people,

“Those who murdered Ronan will undoubtedly attempt to style themselves as “republicans fighting for Ireland”. It is difficult to express the anger and sadness which such a claim evokes in any genuine patriot.

Ronan Kerr epitomised many of the ideals of our Republic.  We will not allow those who murdered him to besmirch the name of Ireland or her citizens by wrapping a green flag around their shameful act.”

The Tánaiste encouraged “men and women from all sides of the community in Northern Ireland, but particularly those from the nationalist and republican tradition, to continue to apply to join the PSNI – their own police force, an Irish police force - in ever increasing numbers.

I encourage their families and their communities to support them and to be rightly proud of any son or daughter who wishes to play their part in the help and protection of their fellow citizens.”