Pressure increases for Dolores Kelly to apologize after comments on RUC’s ‘institutionalized bigotry’
Pressure is mounting for SDLP MP Dolores Kelly to apologize after the comments made while calling for more to be done to attract PSNI recruits from the Catholic / nationalist community.
On the 20th anniversary of the RUC’s name change, she declared that the PSNI, as a shared force, was a “significant departure from the institutionalized sectarianism represented by the RUC”.
MP Mike Nesbitt, representative of the Unionist Party of Ulster on the police council, has now asked him to apologize after accusing the RUC of “institutionalized sectarianism”.
He said the comments had caused “great harm to the former officers, their families and their friends.”
Mr Nesbitt said: “The RUC was the barrier between Northern Ireland and total lawlessness. They bravely held the line throughout the unrest and hunted down terrorists whether they were Republicans or loyalists.
“More than 300 officers were murdered in the process, hundreds more physically injured and many more still bear mental scars to this day.
“Dolores Kelly’s comments caused great harm to former officers, their families and friends, and that harm is compounded for those who were linked or who served with those who were murdered or injured,” he said. -he adds.
“We must never forget the reality that the police did not wake up hoping to hurt someone, but all terrorists did, and it was the police who were targeted just for trying. to protect society and save lives. “
He added that while no one disputes that the RUC “might have had more Catholic officers in its ranks … hundreds of Catholics have served with distinction and many have reached high rank.”
“I have no doubt that many more would have come forward were it not for the fact that the IRA made a special effort to target Catholics who joined the RUC in a deliberate policy of seeking to dissuade others from joining,” Mr. Nesbitt mentioned.
“So-called ‘dissident’ Republican terrorists still use this shameful tactic to discourage Catholics from joining the PSNI and this is a major factor why Catholic recruitment into the PSNI remains a problem.
“I think Dolores Kelly should reflect on her comments and the hurt they caused and apologize.”
This new call for an apology from Ms Kelly comes after the president of the Retired Officers’ Association of Northern Ireland, Ray Fitzsimons, said the remarks caused a “grave offense” to thousands of retired RUC members .
Dolores Kelly said: “The SDLP has already paid tribute to the sacrifices made by many RUC officers and their families. The fact remains that there were serious institutional problems within the RUC and this is a matter of public notoriety.
“The fact that many retired police officers continue to refuse to cooperate with inheritance investigations to this day speaks for itself.
“The transformation of the RUC into the PSNI has been a remarkable success and, although the police continue to be a challenge, I think the hard work and efforts of those involved in the implementation of Patten’s recommendations deserve to be recognized. congratulated. “