Kenny condemns prison officer murder


Taoiseach Enda Kenny today condemned the murder of a Northern Ireland prison officer as “deeply disturbing”.

David Black, from Cookstown, Co Tyrone was murdered today in a motorway ambush blamed on dissident republicans.

“I utterly condemn the actions of those who carried it out and their scant regard for human life,” Mr Kenny said while on an official visit to Berlin.

“I wish to extend my deepest sympathy and those of the Irish people to the family of the victim and to his colleagues.”

Mr Kenny added: “Those who committed this brutal act will rightly be condemned by all civilised and right-thinking people on this island who utterly reject such hideous and mindless violence.”

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore earlier said he had spoken First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers to convey sympathies on behalf of the Irish Government.

“I know that I speak for every decent man, woman and child on this island, North and South, in expressing revulsion at this act,” he said.

“There will be no return to the dark and violent days of the past. The tragic loss of life that we have seen this morning serves only to bring us together in a shared grief and a shared determination to work together in building a better future for all.”

Stormont First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness condemned the murder.

“At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved family and we condemn this murder in the strongest possible terms,” they said in a joint statement.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter also condemned the “brutal and barbaric” murder of Mr Black. It was a "reprehensible act of criminal terrorism", he said, that sought to bring peoples on the island back to a troubled past.

“On my own behalf and on behalf of the Government I expressed our deep sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of the murdered prison officer,” he said after speaking to Ms Villiers.

“We acknowledged the very close co-operation which exists between An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland and will fully support their efforts in bringing the perpetrators of this dreadful crime to justice and dealing with the threat posed by anyone behaving in this barbaric fashion.”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin also strongly condemned the murder, saying his first thoughts were with the family of the prison officer.

"Tonight, another family in Northern Ireland will have to begin to come to terms with the tragedy of a loved one who stood up for public service being cut down by wicked men with nothing positive to offer their country."

“The PSNI must get the full support they need from throughout the community to find, catch and punish those responsible. I know also that the gardaí will work closely with the PSNI if there is any assistance they can offer," he added.

Police Service of Northern Ireland chief constable Matt Baggott said: “It was a completely senseless attack."

“It demonstrated the recklessness and ruthlessness and sheer dangerousness of those who oppose peace and are dedicated to taking us back to those dark days of the past.”