Family of murdered PSNI officer Ronan Kerr: We miss him every day ... it’s a searing pain
The family of murdered PSNI officer Ronan Kerr, who died exactly 10 years ago today, have spoken of their “searing pain” over his loss.
Constable Kerr died at the age of 25 on April 2, 2011 when a booby-trap bomb exploded under his car outside his home near Killyclogher on the outskirts of Omagh in Co Tyrone.
A Catholic police officer and a member of GAA club Beragh Red Knights, his murder sparked an outpouring of anger from all sections of the community in Northern Ireland.
Constable Kerr had joined the PSNI in May 2010, nine years after its formation to replace the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
His murder just over a year after he had joined the new police service prompted rallies, under the baner ‘Not in my name’, in towns and cities across Northern Ireland and in London – including one such outpouring of grief and anger in Omagh which was attended by thousands.
The bomb attack was claimed by dissident republican paramilitaries.
No one has been convicted of the murder.
In a statement issued through the victims’ organisation South East Fermanagh Foundation (SEFF), his family spoke of their continued pain at his loss.
“We as a family remember Ronan on his 10th anniversary,” the family said.
“We remember him fondly as the loving son and brother that he was. We miss him every day and not a minute goes by where we don’t feel the pain of his loss, and it’s a searing pain.
“We will never forget his caring nature and his sense of humour.
“As a family we continue to suffer the devastating impact of having him stolen away in such a vile and cruel way.”
The family also thanked all those who had offered support over the 10 years since the brutal killing.
“We are very thankful to our family and friends for their continued support throughout these difficult years and we will always be extremely grateful,” the statement added.
His death was the second murder of a serving police officer following the formation of the PSNI in 2001.
The first PSNI officer murdered was Constable Stephen Carroll, who was shot dead in a gun attack in Craigavon in March 2009.
His widow was among the mourners at Constable Kerr’s funeral in 2011.
Kenny Donaldson, the director of services at SEFF, said both the murdered officers are remembered in a special memorial patchwork quilt.
“Approximately four years ago volunteers at SEFF came together to develop further memorial quilt patches,” he said.
“Amongst those they were required to produce were patches for the two PSNI officers who have been murdered since the new police service was established – Constable Stephen Carroll and Constable Ronan Kerr.
“Within Ronan’s patch are images depicting his three passions: a car, Beragh Knights GFC, Tyrone County GAA and the PSNI badge. Those who produced Ronan’s patch are themselves victims and survivors who have experienced the searing pain of having loved ones stolen away through terrorism.”
He continued: “Ronan’s patch is positioned side by side with constable Carroll’s within a memorial quilt aptly titled, Your Legacy Lives On. This quilt honours the memory of men and women, whether from police, Army, prison service or civilian backgrounds, whether from Protestant, Roman Catholic or other background. Each were valued by their family and friends and the broader community and they are remembered in unity.”
Mr Donaldson also extended his organisation’s thoughts to Ronan Kerr’s family.
“We acknowledge that the community focuses upon such milestone anniversaries but that for families each and every day is an anniversary, and it is on these other dates that families require care and consideration,” he added.