Local politicians condemn prison officer’s murder

North Antrim DUP MLA Mervyn Storey has called those who carried out the murder of Prison Officer David Black “cowards”.

Commenting Mervyn Storey said: “Mr Black was assassinated by cowards and those who want to drag us back to the dark past. I welcome the swift actions of the PSNI in making arrests. I would hope that we will see whoever is responsible for this heinous crime also swiftly charged and brought to justice.

“I fully echo the call to ensure that whatever resources are needed, financial or otherwise, that the Government provides the Chief Constable with whatever is required to stamp out this terrorism.

“It has been said before that the dissident terrorists do not have the capacity to stage a long-term campaign. Unfortunately they do not even have to wage that kind of campaign, but even sporadic individual events such as this have the capacity to open old wounds for people who have lost loved ones down through the years. That also keeps a threat hanging over those who have the courage and dedication to step forward and serve our community, whether in the security forces or the Prison Service and whilst these kind of events occur families will still have a fear that they will be visited by the grief which now engulfs the Black family.

“I would urge the Secretary of State and the Government as a whole to do all they can to bring these murderers to justice and stamp out the threat of terrorism we continue to face and also put in place whatever steps are required to protect our prison officers and their familys as a matter of urgency.”

Also commenting on the murder TUV leader and North Antrim MLA Jim Allister said: “I was shocked and saddened to hear of this morning’s brutal murder of a Prison Officer.

“One cannot begin to imagine the feelings of his family at this time. They will be in the thoughts and prayers of people across the Province and further afield.

“Once again violent Republicanism has brought death to our streets.

“This murder is no different from the many other attacks on Prison Service staff carried out by the Provisional IRA. There was no justification then and there is no justification now.

“I have been contacted by Prison Officers who have expressed fears about their personal safety and the inadequate response of the authorities when concerns were raised.

“I hope that these tragic events will lead to a renewed focus on the safety of staff so that all measures necessary are taken to ensure that the risk to those serving their community is minimised.”