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Northern Ireland

Prison officer killed in Armagh motorway shooting

This morning’s shooting, which caused the death of a Northern Ireland prison officer, has been condemned by the Northern Ireland Secretary.

A NORTHERN IRELAND prison officer has been shot dead this morning on the M1 motorway in Co Armagh.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has confirmed that shots were fired at a vehicle as it travelled between the Lurgan and Portadown junctions on the M1 this morning at around 7.30am.

Several shots were fired at the vehicle but it is not clear whether the victim died as a result of the shots or the collision which saw the car veer off the road and crash.

The shooting has been condemned by the Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villers who said it was a “cowardly and evil attack” while the Justice Minister Alan Shatter described it as “brutal and barbaric”.

Shatter said that he has already held discussions with the North’s Justice Minister David Ford and Villiers.

“On my own behalf and on behalf of the Government I expressed our deep sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of the murdered prison officer,” he said in a statement.

He said the Irish government “will fully support” authorities in their “efforts in bringing the perpetrators of this dreadful crime to justice and dealing with the threat posed by anyone behaving in this barbaric fashion.”

Villiers said: “The thoughts and deepest sympathy of us all are with the family, friends and colleagues of the murdered prison officer.

“Like his colleagues across the prison service he was dedicated to serving the whole community in Northern Ireland . This is in stark contrast to the people responsible for this despicable crime.”

The PSNI said that it was carrying out further examination of the scene to determine the cause of death.

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