Northern Ireland

Order unlikely to censure pair over Ronan Kerr funeral

Tom Elliot and Danny Kennedy shake hands with Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte at Ronan Kerr's funeral
Image caption Tom Elliot and Danny Kennedy shake hands with Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte at Ronan Kerr's funeral

The Orange Order will take no action against UUP leader and Orangeman Tom Elliott for going to Ronan Kerr's funeral Mass, the BBC understands.

The rules of the Orange Order prohibit members from attending Catholic Masses.

Mr Elliott and the former UUP deputy leader Danny Kennedy publicly attended the funeral of Constable Kerr in Beragh on Wednesday.

Both are members of the order. Mr Elliott is a former county grandmaster of Fermanagh.

When asked about their attendance an order spokesman told the BBC: "It is important that the Kerr family know they have widespread support throughout the community and the Orange Order offers sincere sympathy to them on the loss of their brave son."

A former Ulster Unionist leader and Orangeman David Trimble attended a funeral Mass in Donegal for some of the victims of the Omagh bomb in 1998 without any action being taken.

Away from public gaze, it is known that members do attend the funerals of Catholic friends without censure.

It appears the leadership intends the same thing to happen on this occasion as well.