Policeman's Funeral Unites Northern Ireland
Killing by IRA splinter group provokes defiant display in favor of peace
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2009 7:46 AM CDT

(Newser) – Northern Ireland's Catholics and Protestants united yesterday to mourn a policeman killed by an IRA splinter group, the New York Times reports. In what some mourners described as the most improbable gathering of old enemies in modern Irish history, IRA veterans stood side by side with loyalists and security chiefs from both sides of the border at the funeral of constable Stephen Carroll.

Mourners, including representatives of all the main political parties, spoke of their determination to not allow the province to be dragged back into the cycle of sectarian bloodshed. An attack on the police force—once despised by Catholics, but now a symbol of post-peace deal reconciliation—is “an attack on the whole population of Northern Ireland," a Catholic priest said in a strongly-worded sermon.