GAA condemns ex-player's killer

The killers of Pc Ronan Kerr have no support in the Gaelic Athletic Association, the chairman of his former club said today.

The killers of Pc Ronan Kerr have no support in the Gaelic Athletic Association, the chairman of his former club said today.

Ireland’s largest sporting cultural organisation stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the dead man’s family in condemning the murder, Beragh Red Knights club chairman Gearoid O Treasaigh added.

There has been an outpouring of sympathy across the community in the North following Saturday’s killing.

Today, just a few miles from the family home, in Beragh senior GAA officials spoke of their anger that the association had been attacked.

Mr O Treasaigh said: “Ronan Kerr was a Catholic, an Irishman and a Gael who joined the PSNI because he wanted to play his part in making our society a better place. Many members of our club were aware of Ronan’s career path and supported him on his choice.”

“The GAA stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the Kerr family, the PSNI and the entire community in condemning outright this murder.

“We also send a strong message today to all of those people who continue to engage in this activity – you have no support in our community and your actions do not represent the views and feelings of the vast majority of people in Ireland.”

Last night Ulster president Aogan O Fearghail, Tyrone GAA chairman Ciaran McLaughlin and Tyrone GAA manager Mickey Harte visited the Kerr household in Drumduff, near Omagh, and offered their support.

They said the new police recruit played for Beragh up to the age of 18 and represented the club with distinction and commitment. He was voted the team’s under-14 player of the year in 2000.

Mr O Treasaigh added: “He was a decent, hardworking and genuine individual who was respected by members of this club, he was loved by his family and highly regarded by everyone in this community.”

He played in midfield and was known for his strength.

Just two weeks ago he met Michael McCann, former chairman of the club, and was still interested in how it was doing.

Mr McCann said: “He was an honest fella and listened to what you said, there was never any bother with Ronan.”

“He had a smile on his face and he was a great player.”

He was modest and pleasant and willing to listen and learn the game and worked hard at it, he said.

Mr O Fearghail said the GAA had no place for anybody who committed violence and he endorsed a shared future.

The GAA supported the Good Friday Agreement and the Patten commission which reformed policing, he said.

Mr O Fearghail added: “Any civilised society needs a police force, we are committed to ensuring that people from nationalist backgrounds remain in and are committed to the police force.”

He said: “We come from differing and different traditions, there are many heritages and backgrounds, there are very differing interpretations of the past and the future but in the GAA we acknowledge that there has to be a shared future and mutual respect.

“We are angry that we have been attacked as an association, that a family has been robbed of a young man and that the PSNI have lost a valuable comrade.”

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