Church leaders condemn prison officer murder

The Catholic and Anglican Bishops of Dromore have condemned the murder of a Northern Ireland prison officer.

Two men have been arrested in connection with the murder of David Black, who was attacked as he drove to work on the M1 motorway in County Armagh on Thursday.

In a joint statement, Bishops John McAreavey and Harold Miller described the murder as a "ruthless" and "morally bankrupt act".

"This is a time for our whole community to come together in declaring that such violence against any person, whatever the motive, is utterly unacceptable," they said.

"Our society has made great progress in recent years. We are determined, with God’s help, to continue in the ways of peace to work towards a future where all people are respected, regardless of their political or religious identity.

Mr Black was shot as he drove along the motorway between Portadown and Lurgan on his way to Maghaberry Prison on Thursday morning.

He is the first prison officer to be murdered in Northern Ireland in two decades.

The church leaders added: "Those who perpetrated such a vicious attack represent a very small number of people, and are entirely out of step with the direction of the wider community.

"They will never be allowed to take us back to the divisions and fear of the past."