Police Service of Northern Ireland

Constable Stephen Paul Carroll, 48, a married man with children from the Banbridge area of County Down. Constable Carroll was the first PSNI officer to have been murdered by paramilitaries since the force was formed in 2001. At around 9.45pm on Monday 9 March, police responded to a request for assistance from a member of the public at Lismore Manor in Craigavon. Sir Hugh said: “Shortly before 10pm officers in Craigavon were going about their duty, serving the public of Northern Ireland, answering a call for help. Sadly one of those officers (Constable Stephen Paul Carroll,) paid the ultimate price when cowards and criminals gunned him down. I pay tribute to him and send my deepest sympathy to his family.

[ Constable Stephen Paul Carroll ]

A COUNTRY town came to a standstill today (13th March 2009) for the funeral of the policeman tragically murdered by dissident republicans. Hundreds of police officers attended the emotional service for PC Stephen Carroll, 48, who was gunned down in Craigavon, County Armagh, by the Continuity IRA. Shops in the centre of Banbridge, County Down, closed their doors as a mark of respect as PC Carroll’s coffin, behind a Police Service of Northern Ireland colour party, was taken from his home to St Therese’s Catholic church for the funeral mass.

[ PC Stephen Carroll ]

At the service Canon Liam Stevenson spoke of the many who had worked hard to build bridges and bring peace to Northern Ireland. He said the tragic murders of PC Carroll and Sappers Mark Quinsey and Patrick Azimkar, who were shot outside their barracks, had been designed to de-stabilise the peace process. “We certainly do not want to lose the peace. We will not lose the peace because so many people are so determined to move forward," he continued. "The people have spoken so strongly since last Sunday in many cities and towns.” Condemning those responsible for the murders, he said: “The word 'patriotism' has been used in many different ways by many different people down the years. "Tragically this word is one of the most abused words in the English language. "In this very way, the killers of Constable Stephen Carroll have abused the term patriotism. “A perfectly laudable aspiration such as patriotism is robbed of its intrinsic value when it’s allied to violence and death in pursuit of its objectives.” He said he saw patriotism more in terms of love of people, specifically, in Northern Ireland, the love of all its people. “We all have to live in Northern Ireland, sharing our lives with each other, understanding and respecting one another, recognising, supporting and accepting each other’s tradition.  “The PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) is constituted to reflect each main tradition. It represents all of us; it is essentially a part of us. “An attack on the PSNI is primarily an attack on the whole population of Northern Ireland. We, as a people, were historically separate and divided; we are now much, much closer together, trying to understand one another and sharing political institutions.” Canon Stevenson went on: “Our prayer today is that Stephen’s horrendous killing, whatever its intention or desired effect, will galvanise us in our pursuit of mutual understanding, tolerance and respect for one another.”  Several hundred people gathered outside the Carroll home while a brief family service was held inside for the constable’s widow Kate and other family members. Hundreds of local people lined streets – closed to traffic – in silence as the funeral cortege passed. Northern Ireland’s police chief Sir Hugh Orde and many senior officers were joined at the service by the garda commissioner in the Republic, Fachtna Murphy, together with police representatives from England, Scotland and Wales and the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers.