SECRETARY of State Owen Paterson has condemned the murder of a PSNI officer today as “...an evil act carried out by enemies of the whole community”.
“First and foremost my heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of the young PSNI officer who was murdered today,” said Mr Paterson who is expected to arrive in the Province tonight.
“This was a cruel and evil act.
“He served the community that the people who murdered him want to destroy.
“There can be no more marked contrast than that.
“The people in all parts of Ireland and beyond want peace and those who carried out this atrocity are in the grip of an obscene delusion if they think that by murder they can defy their will”.
Tonight the Secretary of State spoke with the Prime Minister.
He also spoke with the Chief Constable, Matt Baggott and Justice Minister, David Ford.
Local DUP representative Thomas Buchanan:
“I unreservedly condemn this murder and send my deepest sympathy to this young officer’s family.
“Those who planted this bomb have nothing to offer Northern Ireland other than bloodshed, heartache and wreckage. “These evil men do not speak for the good people of Omagh.”
UUP leader Tom Elliott:
“The people responsible for the attack have one aim and one aim alone - to take Northern Ireland back to the dark days of the past. All of us have a duty to ensure they do not succeed.
“It is beyond question that there are those who are giving shelter to these so called dissidents and it is incumbent on them to do the right thing and give them up.
“The callous murder of this young officer will come as a great shock to the local community and my thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues at this time.”
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD:
“While not all of the information has yet come to light in relation to this incident it is understood that a young man has lost his life. I want to send my condolences to his family at this hugely traumatic time.
“Sinn Féin is determined that those responsible will not set back the progress of the Peace and Political Process.”
SDLP Leader Margaret Ritchie:
“Those responsible are enemies of Ireland and enemies of peace. Their actions will not untie Ireland but will only unite people in their condemnation of their murder.
“This has not only stunned the people of Omagh, it has stunned the entire country.
“This is not what the people want. They cannot be allowed to continue their campaign.”
Alliance Justice Spokesperson Stephen Farry:
“The thoughts and prayers of people right across the community in Northern Ireland will be with the family of this brave officer.
“This was a most despicable and cowardly attack. It is more than just an attack on an individual police officer but an attack on the entire community.
“In turn, the entire community will be united in rejecting and thwarting those men of violence who are seeking to drag us back to the dark past from which society is emerging.”
TUV Leader Jim Allister and Alex Elliott:
“Today’s murderous under car bomb attack in Omagh, which reportedly has left a police officer dead, underscores the depth of the continuing threat from republican terrorists.
“Sadly, we fear the province is ill-prepared for an upsurge in such terror because of the rundown in security implemented at Sinn Fein’s behest and facilitated by those ever ready to meet their every demand.”
PUP leader Brian Ervine:
“These are yesterday’s men mouthing yesterday’s mantras from yesterday’s war.
“Their only contribution to this society is bereavement and misery and my heart goes out to the family of this murdered policeman.”
Presbyterian Moderator Dr Norman Hamilton:
“Today’s murder of a PSNI officer is an evil and despicable act by people whose only contribution to society is to bring death and destruction.
“On behalf of the whole Presbyterian community I would offer our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the officer and, in assuring them of our prayers, would ask for appropriate prayers to be offered at public worship tomorrow, Sunday.
“The courage and commitment of the PSNI officer who has given his life are the qualities we all must show as we continue to build our shared future together and banish hatred and killing to the past.”
The Rev. Paul Kingston, President of the Methodist Church in Ireland:
“This young man who had recently begun his career as a member of PSNI had committing himself to the protection of life and the enforcement of law and order had more to offer the community than those who have so callously taken his life.”