Northern Ireland

Prison officer murder condemned across Northern Ireland

There has been widespread condemnation of those responsible for the murder of a prison officer in County Armagh.

David Black, 52, was attacked on the M1 motorway as he travelled to Maghaberry Prison in County Antrim.

Mr Black was a very experienced prison officer who had served throughout the Troubles.

UK Prime Minister, David Cameron

"First and foremost this is a dreadful tragedy for the family and friends of David Black who has been so brutally murdered as he went about his work keeping the people of Northern Ireland safe. My heart goes out to them.

"The government I lead will do whatever we can to help the PSNI bring the perpetrators to justice.

"These killers will not succeed in denying the people of Northern Ireland the peaceful, shared future they so desperately want."

Justice Minister, David Ford

"My sympathy goes out to his family and colleagues. It is a family and a human tragedy.

"But this is a sign of those seeking to drag us back into the past when most of NI is preparing for a different future."

PSNI Chief Constable, Matt Baggott

"It is a completely senseless attack which demonstrates the ruthlessness and recklessness of those opposed to peace and who live for violence.

"Our deepest sympathy is with David's family, friends and colleagues.

"Please be assured that the Police Service of Northern Ireland will do everything possible to bring those responsible to justice.

"I would ask everybody to get right behind the murder investigation as the hours and days unfold. This is an attack on all people and we need the full support of everyone."

Prison Officers' Association, Finlay Spratt

"I call on the community in the area that those people come from to hand them over and let justice be seen to be done

"He's a long serving officer. He served this community right down through the Troubles, the hunger strike and everything.

"This officer did his bit for the community."

Labour Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, Vernon Coaker

"Prison officers do a remarkable job in very difficult circumstances. An attack on any one them is an attack on the criminal justice system, the law and the community.

"These terrorists seek only to hurt and destroy peace and progress. They will not succeed."

DUP Deputy Leader, Nigel Dodds

"This dastardly murder highlights that the battle against terrorism and the fight for peace and democracy continues in Northern Ireland.

"Next week marks the 25th anniversary of the Poppy Day massacre in Enniskillen. Sadly there are still people who want to plunge Ulster into the darkness and depths of despair and death.

"They must not be allowed to succeed. Anyone with information must help the police track down these killers and bring them to justice."

Sinn Fein assembly member, John O'Dowd

"The people responsible or those who act as their political spokespeople need to explain themselves to the community.

"Time and again when these factions carry out violent acts we get complete silence from those who at other times are only too willing to come onto the airwaves and attack the political process.

"It is patently obvious that the peace process will not be derailed by incidents like this. It hasn't in the past and it won't in the future.

"That is a reality that those behind these actions need to realise and bring an end to these pointless actions."

Ulster Unionist leader, Mike Nesbitt

"This is a tragedy for this man's family.

"We offer our sincere condolences to them and hope that they gain strength to see them through the coming days.

"Those who have carried out this attack on an innocent man represent the past and have nothing to offer the men, women and children of this country who have long since rejected terrorism."

SDLP leader, Alasdair McDonnell

"Mr Black's murder marks out the very worst and darkest side of human nature - a side which civilised people banish from their hearts and their societies.

"The slaughter of a man who left his family in the full expectation of seeing them again that night is a disgrace to democracy and a true human tragedy.

"The people of Ireland rejected violence long ago and they will continue to reject it today."

Alliance justice spokesperson, Stewart Dickson

"I am absolutely sickened at the brutal killing of this man. It is appalling that anyone could be ambushed like this as they go about their daily business.

"There are no words to condemn this brutal murder, which is an attack on our whole society.

"I would appeal for the local community to remain calm and anyone with any information to contact the PSNI as soon as possible."

Irish Deputy Prime Minister, Eamon Gilmore

"I convey my sympathies and that of the Irish government to his grieving family.

"I know that I speak for every decent man, woman and child on this island, north and south, in expressing revulsion at this act.

"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."

Orange Order Grand Master, Edward Stevenson

"David was a devoted and loyal member of Montober LOL 661 for approximately 30 years, as well as a fine prison officer.

"His professionalism throughout the worst of the Troubles and beyond is in stark contrast to the cowardly and faceless terrorists who today have left a wife without her husband and two children without their father."

Bishop of Down & Connor, Noel Treanor

"In the face of this heinous crime let us all resolve to support the rule of law, to recognize the destructive evil of violence and to maintain our commitment to democracy rather than resorting to any form of violence.

"Our present and our future are not and cannot be built upon the pursuit of violence."

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