The priest who gave the last rites to a prominent dissident murdered in Belfast early on Friday evening has called on the community to speak out against the killers and help bring them to justice.
Fr Tony Devlin said Tommy Crossan’s murder shortly before 5pm in a busy area of west Belfast was “a public execution calculated to bring death and fear to the community”.
The parish priest of St Paul’s in Belfast described the scene he found when called on to anoint the 43 year-old former Continuity IRA leader as shocking and greatly distressing to anyone who witnessed it, including children in a nearby park.
Speaking to the congregation at the Easter vigil mass on Saturday night Fr Devlin said the fear those responsible wish to create in the community cannot be allowed to win.
“As a parish, we have experienced many fruits of the ‘Peace Process’ but yesterday we witnessed evils return with this brutal murder,” he said.
“The people and children of this parish deserve better. They deserve peace but the price of peace involves standing up to criminal and violent ways by firstly speaking out against it and then if possible to help to bring to justice those who carried out this brutal act.
“We must not let the fear these people wish to put us under triumph.”
Fr Devlin added that the “price of peace” in the local area will involve speaking out against the murder and “if possible to help to bring to justice those who carried out this brutal act”.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with this man’s family today and all who are victims of violence,” he said.