Northern Ireland

Mother of Constable Ronan Kerr says his murder achieved 'nothing'

The mother of the murdered PSNI officer, Ronan Kerr, has said dissident republicans have gained "absolutely nothing" by his killing.

Nuala Kerr was speaking ahead of the first anniversary of Constable Kerr's murder.

The 25-year-old died when a bomb exploded under his car at Highfield Close in Omagh, County Tyrone, in April 2011.

The police have issued a fresh appeal for information about the murder.

The PSNI believe a garage in Coalisland is linked to the attack. Four days after the bombing, guns, ammunition, explosives and stolen cars were found in the unit at Mountjoy Road.

Police say identifying those who rented the property could hold the key to catching Constable Kerr's killers.

His mother said that since her son's death "numerous people" had told her they would join the PSNI.

"I am delighted for Ronan that at least that is something positive that has come out of this, but unfortunately saddened that Ronan wasn't there to be one of their mentors to help them along," she said.

Mrs Kerr said she pitied her son's killers and felt sorry for them.

"I actually feel sorry for people like that being brought up and indoctrinated into the belief that killing somebody is actually going to achieve something," she said.

"I feel sorry for people who think that, that it's okay to kill somebody.

"How is it ever going to be okay to kill somebody, you are going to have to live with that for the rest of your life?"

Mrs Kerr said no-one should be put off joining the PSNI and added that she believed it was the "only way forward in this country".

She said she planned to spend the anniversary at home in Beragh in the company of her surviving children Cathair, Aaron and Dairine.


The nurse said it did not seem like a year since she learned of Ronan's death.

"Even to this day, we are still in disbelief," she said.

"It's been a really harrowing year, because of the type of person Ronan was.

"He was such a bubbly big personality in our house, he was the talker, he was the fun, he knew exactly what to say and what to do in situations, so we all depended on him an awful lot.

"I certainly did and I know my other children did.

"He was a confident and happy and intelligent young man, with great potential and just a great future.

"He could have turned his hand to anything, but he had just decided he always liked that type of work, he liked dealing with people, he liked the role the PSNI offered - he loved it with a passion."

Mrs Kerr said her son had been aware of the risks associated with the police, but that she did not regret his decision to join.

"I know two weeks prior to him dying he did say to somebody that he was never as happy as he was then in his life, so I think that confirmed to all of us that he was doing what he wanted to do," she added.

"He was doing what he was good at and I know he would have made a really good police officer."

She recalled that in her final conversation with Ronan, half an hour before the bomb exploded, he had been "bubbly and chatting as usual".

"It was about (how) he loved his job and what time he was starting at that night again and how happy he was and looking forward to Cathair coming home the next day (from Australia), and he couldn't wait to see him and what we were going to do as a family," she said.

"Then everything just changed completely."

Mrs Kerr said that her son always checked under his car for booby traps before driving, but that on the day he died he had gone to get something out of the vehicle - the impact triggering the device as he sat in driver's seat.

She said the family needed justice before they could think about moving on and urged the community to provide information to catch her son's killers.

"Obviously we want justice for Ronan, we want somebody charged, the right person charged," she added.

Image caption Nuala Kerr with pictures of her son Ronan who was murdered in April 2011

"There are people out there know what happened, they know who did it and we are urging them to come forward.

"They owe it to Ronan as a person to get justice, they owe it to themselves to clear their own conscience because if they know information they are as guilty as the person who put the bomb under Ronan's car, and they owe it to us as a family that we can get answers and are able to move forward with our lives."

Cathair Kerr learned of his brother's death via the internet as he returned to Northern Ireland from his adopted home in Australia.

"I was sitting in Sydney airport on the way home and I had just checked-in on Facebook to the airport, the first person to comment on it was Ronan and I was straight on instant messenger to him," he added.

"Manchester United was playing that day so I wanted to check when I got to Abu Dhabi the football result and I logged onto Facebook again and everything was about Ronan, in the past tense.

"I didn't know how or why, I just knew he was dead.

"It was tough, just a big shock. I just passed it to my girlfriend who was sitting beside me and didn't say anything.

"I tried to get through to mum and just asked: 'Was it true?'.

"It was."

Cathair agreed with his mother that it was important that those responsible for Ronan's murder were brought to justice.

"It could save another life," he said.

"If they can take Ronan's life, they can take someone else's.

"That's the main thing.

"It's not going to bring Ronan back but it could save someone else."

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