Ronan Kerr, the Omagh policeman killed by a car bomb on Saturday will be laid to rest today as political leaders, unions and people across Northern Ireland united in solidarity against his murder.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the device which went off as Kerr was leaving his home for work, but dissident republicans have been widely blamed.

Books of condolences are available for the public to sign across Northern Ireland and a peace rally will go ahead at the City Hall in Belfast later today to send a message to the terrorists that they can not turn back the clock to the dark days of the Troubles.

First Minister Peter Robinson will attend Constable Kerr’s funeral. It will be the The DUP leader’s first Catholic service, The Belfast Telegraph reports.

“There was a time when acts of violence and terror would have divided political opinion in Northern Ireland — today it unites it. All of you will know what an enormous step forward this is from the experience of the past,” he said.

 “This is not a time to score political points about the past, but rather to recognise a shared aspiration for a better future.It is trite to say that the terrorists will not win. The truth is they cannot win. If I am sure of one thing it is that the overwhelming majority of people in Northern Ireland utterly condemn the murder of Ronan Kerr.”

25-year-old Kerr is believed to have been targeted for being a Catholic member of the Police Service of Northern Ireland by republican terrorists who oppose Northern Ireland’s peace process.

This kind of sectarian killing was common during Northern Ireland’s Troubles in the 1970s.

Kerr is the second police officer to have been murdered since the Royal Ulster Constabulary became the PSNI in 2001. Constable Stephen Carroll was shot dead in Craigavon in March 2009.

Both murders have attracted widespread condemnation from republican and unionist leaders alike.

Ronan Kerr’s funeral service is to take place in the Church of the Immaculate Conception in the village of Beragh in County Tyrone.