All Ireland Hunt For PSNI Man's Killers

A second man has been arrested in connection with the murder of Constable Ronan Kerr in Northern Ireland and searches have been undertaken in Dublin.

The 40-year-old man was held when a van was stopped on a road between Omagh and Ballygawley in Co Tyrone on Thursday morning.

A police statement this morning said: "The suspect has been arrested in connection with Constable Kerr's murder and in relation to the find of firearms, munitions and explosives in Coalisland on Tuesday night.

"He has been taken to the Serious Crime Suite at Antrim police station and a vehicle has been seized for examination."

Also today, a house in Dublin has been searched in connection with the murder.

It was carried out by members of the Garda Special Detective Unit at the request of the PSNI.

The search was at a property on the north side of Dublin, close to the airport.

Meanwhile, the PSNI are continuing their questioning of a man who was held in West Dunbartonshire and taken to Northern Ireland in connection with Saturday's murder of PSNI officer, Ronan Kerr.

He was held in Scotland on Wednesday under the Terrorism Act and was re-arrested over Mr Kerr's murder.

Police said the arrest was linked to a weapons find in the Coalisland area of east Tyrone on Tuesday evening.

The man was held in Renton in West Dunbartonshire yesterday and is said to have been working in the building trade in the area.

Last night, the Assistant Chief Constable of Strathclyde Police, George Hamilton, said the arrest was made at the request of the PSNI.

"Needless to say we were acting in support of them at their request, and given the tragic circumstances leading up to this, we were happy to do this, and to make the arrest on their behalf under the terrorism act," he said.

Also yesterday, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, said the weapons were found on Tuesday night inside stolen cars in a garage at Mountjoy Road in Coalisland.

The weapons included four rifles, detonators, component parts for rocket launchers, incendiary bombs and explosives, possibly Semtex.

"Everyone in Northern Ireland is very much safer today because these munitions have been taken out of circulation," he said.

Police have confirmed that the arms found in Coalisland will be forensically examined to establish whether there is a direct link to the Ronan Kerr murder or to the wider activities of dissident republicans.

Commenting on the seizure, local MP Martin McGuinness said: "It is clear from the murder of Ronan Kerr at the weekend that there are still small unrepresentative armed groupings out there who are seeking to undermine the progress of recent years.

"Like every other sensible person out there I welcome the removal from our community of this significant quantity of weaponry which these groupings were obviously intending to use to undermine the peace process," commented the senior Sinn Fein politician, life-long republican and outgoing Stormont Executive Deputy First Minister.

The Sinn Fein MP for West Tyrone, Pat Doherty, has called on those responsible for the murder of Ronan Kerr to come forward and claim responsibility for their actions.

He also said it was time that those various independent republican candidates across the six counties make it clear where they stand on Constable Kerr's murder.

"We are now five days on from Ronan's murder, yet to date those responsible have not come forward and claimed responsibility for their actions.

"Likewise we have heard nothing from a variety of independent republican candidates across the six counties on where they stand on the murder," he said.

"Yesterday's funeral in Beragh saw an unprecedented display of solidarity with the family of Ronan Kerr.

It cannot simply be allowed to pass without a focus being put both on those responsible and those who would claim to speak politically for them," he concluded.

Ian McCrea, DUP representative for Mid Ulster and member of the NI Policing Board, has also today welcomed the discovery of a significant cache of terrorist weaponry in his constituency.

"Everyone in Northern Ireland is absolutely determined that those who want to drag us backwards in to violence, death and bloodshed will not be allowed to succeed.

"The entire community, with the exception of a tiny minority of criminal fanatics, want stability, security and peace.

"I am pleased that the police have discovered a significant cache of weaponry in Coalisland.

"From the information available it is clear that these weapons were intended for use by terrorists," he said.

"People in Mid Ulster and indeed throughout the rest of the community, are safer as a consequence of this discovery: the fewer terrorist weapons in circulation the better.

"I congratulate the PSNI in their efforts to stamp out criminality and terrorism in our community.

"We must all work to build a better society free from terrorism and criminality."

Meanwhile, just hours after the under-car booby-trap bomb victim was buried, the NI Secretary of State Owen Paterson has said that the funeral oration by Cardinal Brady sent a "clear and powerful message" to anyone even thinking that violence could possibly be justified.

Speaking after attending the funeral of PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr, Mr Paterson said: "This was a deeply sad and moving occasion, but it was also uplifting.

"So many people from across Northern Ireland and beyond came together not just to show support for Ronan's family but as a physical manifestation of the heart felt desire for a complete and final end to violence," said the Secretary of State.

"Cardinal Brady's words were immensely powerful when he commented that the killing of Ronan Kerr, was totally unjustified."

Agreeing that it was "an evil deed, an offence against God and a complete rejection of the belief that human life is sacred" Owen Paterson urged NI to heed the senior cleric's words.

"In God's name stop - and stop now!"


Related Irish News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

06 April 2011
Politicians Unite As Murdered PSNI Man Buried
This is to be a series of political 'firsts' taking place today in Northern Ireland. The Irish Premier, Enda Kenny, is attending the funeral of murdered PSNI Constable Ronan Kerr.
26 March 2024
Environmental Report Highlights 'Failure To Act'
A new environmental report highlights Northern Ireland's failure to act on protecting its environment, Alliance's Environment spokesperson John Blair MLA has said.
26 March 2024
New Manifesto To Transform NI's Credit Union Network
The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) has launched a new policy manifesto to support the Northern Ireland Assembly in bringing about essential changes and recognising the essential role of credit unions within communities and the wider economy.
21 March 2024
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar Announces Resignation
Ireland's Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, has announced that he will stand down as prime minister with immediate effect and leader of Fine Gael as soon as his successor is selected.
21 March 2024
BCC Unveils Refreshed Strategic Plan For Belfast City Centre
New plans to support the most vulnerable in Belfast while growing the economy, regenerating neighbourhoods and achieving climate targets have been published in a refreshed strategic plan for the city. First published in 2017, the Belfast Agenda set out joint vision for the city up to 2035.