27/11/2008

Last Of Tragic PSNI Officers Buried

It's another sad day for policing in Northern Ireland as the funeral of the fourth police officer killed in a crash in Co Down at the weekend has taken place.

Hundred of mourners packed into St Colman's Church outside Kilkeel for the funeral of Declan Greene, 39, who was due to receive an area commander's commendation for his community work with young people in the Kilkeel area.

A certificate for this, along with his police cap and gloves were presented to his wife after the service.

Mr Greene was afterwards interred in the cemetery beside St Colman's Church.

He was killed along with three colleagues when their police vehicle crashed as they were answering a call at about 4am on Sunday.

Yesterday, police chiefs and political leaders attended the funerals of Mr Greene's three colleagues.

A service for James Magee, 27, was held in Dromore while Kevin Gorman, 24, was laid to rest in Drumaness.

The funeral of Kenneth Irvine, 30, was held in Kilkeel.

The PSNI men's Shogun 4x4 vehicle crashed and burst into flames after skidding into a stone wall on a stretch of road near Warrenpoint and it is thought that live ammunition which was being carried by the officers also exploded.
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It is the single worst loss of life for the Police Service of Northern Ireland since the end of the Troubles.

The exact cause of the accident is still being investigated but early inquiries suggested that poor weather conditions and excess speed may have resulted in the car spinning out of control.

The crash site was initially sealed off as accident investigators conducted a fingertip examination of the scene and it is hoped the vehicle's 'black box' recorder can better explain the cause of the crash.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde, who was amongst the first to visit the scene of the tragedy, was visibly shocked at the carnage.

Terry Spence, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Police Federation said: "Two of these officers had children and coming up to Christmas this will be extremely difficult for their extended families but for all of these officers there will be mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, the police service in general and in particular the colleagues who served with these men so it will be a very, very difficult time for everyone involved."

See: Weekend Road Deaths' Shock

(BMcC/KMcA)

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