Omagh, Co Tyrone: Thousands Take Part In ‘Walk For Peace’ Rally: UPDATED

10 Apr

Thousands of people have taken part in a ‘Walk for Peace’ to mark the death of PSNI constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh, Co Tyrone.

 'Walf for Peace' - Thousands take part
 ‘Walf for Peace’ – Thousands take part
 
 Ronan Kerr - 'Walk for Peace' in Omagh
 Ronan Kerr – ‘Walk for Peace’ in
 
Omagh
 Tyrone - Thousands attended policeman's funeral
 Tyrone – Thousands attended policeman’s funeral

Michael Gallagher, who represents Omagh bombing victims, and the Northern Ireland Justice Minster David Ford attended the rally.

The 25-year-old was killed last Saturday when a bomb exploded under his car.

Police investigating the murder have been granted an extra five days to question a 33-year-old man arrested on Friday.

Two other men have been detained by detectives investigating the booby trap bomb attack that killed the 25-year-old Catholic officer.

On Friday police were given a further five days to question the other 26-year-old and 40-year-old already in custody.

Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process were blamed for the attack, and the same extremists are believed to be behind a 500lb van bomb police discovered near the border town of Newry on Thursday.

Mr Kerr was leaving his home to start work at Enniskillen police station in Co Fermanagh when he was killed.

His mother, Nuala, has urged young Catholics not to be deterred from joining the PSNI and described her son as a wonderful young man who loved his job.

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has said those who murdered Constable Kerr are enemies of peace.

Political leaders from both sides of the border attended the funeral of PC Kerr in the village of Beragh, Co Tyrone on Wednesday.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny was joined by Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

NEWS UPDATE:

Thousands of people gathered today to take part in a rally in Omagh to mark the death of constable Ronan Kerr.

The rally, which was described by organisers as a march for peace, came as detectives continued to question three men over the murder of the 25-year-old Catholic officer, who died in a booby trap bomb attack outside his home in the Co Tyrone town last week.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness today called for communities to “hold steady” in the face of the threat. His comments came after his party president Gerry Adams warned people against offering any shelter to breakaway groups.

Police were granted an extra five days to question a 33 year old man who was arrested on Friday in the Omagh area.

Police were yesterday also given five more days to question a 26-year-old man arrested in Scotland on Wednesday and re-arrested on Thursday, plus a 40-year-old man arrested near Omagh on Thursday.

Meanwhile, police in Northern Ireland confirmed that a van at the centre of a major security alert close to the border yesterday contained a ‘very substantial’ bomb.

A number of controlled explosions were carried out on the vehicle found at a section of the main road between Belfast and Dublin, near Newry, after which officers confirmed a viable bomb had been found.

It was contained in a wheelie bin packed with 500lbs of homemade explosives and could have been destined for an attack on a town centre, according to the PSNI.

Detectives believe the vehicle, found near Newry at an underpass beneath the main A1 route between Belfast and Dublin, was abandoned because of the presence of a police checkpoint.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bomb, but police said a phone call to warn about the bomb used a code word previously used by dissident Republicans.

There are fears the van bomb abandoned near Newry was intended for a town centre and could have caused loss of life on the scale of the 1998 Omagh massacre.

Mr McGuinness said of the groups: “Over the course of recent years it appears that they do have a limited capability, but you can’t rule out anything.

“I think the greatest danger from these groups is to the local community.

“If you look at the people that have been killed by these groups they are mostly from the nationalist/republican community.”

In a direct appeal to the small support base for the dissidents, Mr Adams warned against sheltering what he described as anti-peace factions, and he argued that the political landscape had changed since the days of the Troubles.

“To those who might shelter or provide resources and facilities to the perpetrators of these actions you need to ask yourselves what purpose is being served?” he said.

“Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are helping the IRA. The war is over.”

NEWS UPDATE:

Thousands of people have marched for peace in Omagh one week after the murder of constable Ronan Kerr in the Co Tyrone town.

Thousands march for peace in Omagh Enlarge photo

The mass rally was a powerful demonstration against violence in a community which suffered the infamous 1998 bombing by dissident republicans that killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins.

The peace march came as police investigating the murder of the 25-year-old Catholic officer continued to question three men in connection with the killing. Detectives, who on Friday were granted an extra five days to question a 26-year-old and a 40-year-old detained over the attack, were also allowed a further five days to quiz a 33-year-old arrested by investigators.

Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process were blamed for the booby trap device that exploded under the policeman’s car on April 2. The same extremists are believed to be behind a 500lb van bomb police discovered near the border town of Newry on Thursday.

The Omagh rally attracted support from across the community and was attended by friends and relatives of the murdered officer. And while the march was not party political, organisers said it was intended to send a message of support in the peace process.

Gareth McElduff used Facebook to co-ordinate the rally and said it demonstrated the widespread support for the Kerr family. He added: “Although these are major, major setbacks in the peace process, hopefully the amount of people that is going to come out today is going to show everybody that we want peace in Ireland again and we don’t want to go back to the Troubles.”

Many in the crowd held posters carrying a picture of Pc Kerr’s face, with the words: “Not In My Name.”

The officer’s cousin Sinead O’Kane said she hoped the people responsible for the murder would see the groundswell of support for peace. “It has to stop now, and let his death not have been in vain,” she said.

In a separate development, Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness also spoke out in opposition to the violent factions and called for communities to “hold steady” in the face of the threat. His comments came after his party leader, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, warned people against offering any shelter to breakaway gangs.

Mr McGuinness said of the groups: “Over the course of recent years it appears that they do have a limited capability, but you can’t rule out anything. I think the greatest danger from these groups is to the local community. If you look at the people that have been killed by these groups they are mostly from the nationalist/republican community.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: