Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, June 8, 1999 Published at 14:46 GMT 15:46 UK


RUC will not be disbanded - Mowlam

RUC: Rank and file fear for the future

The Northern Ireland Secretary has said the Royal Ulster Constabulary will not be disbanded.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Northern Ireland Police Federation in County Down, Mo Mowlam, made it clear that the Independent Commission on Policing will, however, recommend some changes.

[ image:  ]
She said: "I hear calls for disbandment of the RUC and those who are saying there must be no change.

"It has to be said these are very narrow views and the prime minister and I have made it clear that neither of these extreme options is possible."

Head of the Federation, Les Rodgers told the conference that Sinn Fein had co-ordinated an "evil conspiracy" to destroy the credibility of the RUC over the last year.

'Sinn Fein conspiracy'

He said members of the legal profession, the media and academia had wittingly and unwittingly supported the campaign, which was aimed at influencing the report of the Patten Commission on Policing Reform.

[ image: Bairbre de Brun: New police forces needed]
Bairbre de Brun: New police forces needed
Attacking Sinn Fein and other critics of the RUC he said: "Their sole purpose is to destroy the credibility of this force by ensuring we have no future. I cannot believe their campaign can be allowed to succeed.

"My members have had enough of listening to these people crucify the work and sacrifice of the RUC."

Collusion rejected

Mr Rodgers also strongly rejected allegations of collusion with loyalists, which have led to calls for an inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane 10 years ago.

He said there was no evidence for this, and that the RUC had always found itself in the middle of the Catholic and Protestant communities, upholding the rule of law.

"We expect and we demand strong, unambiguous support from government and the community," he said. "We need to see more realism injected into what is going on and what lies ahead.

"Next month, the confrontation at Drumcree may well intensify. If we are not getting that vital backing, we can be down there, feeling like cannon fodder."

'Comments hysterical'

Responding to the allegations, Sinn Fein Assembly member Bairbre de Brun said the Federation is fighting a rearguard action to try to prevent changes being brought about by the Good Friday Agreement.

She said: "Its not just Sinn Fein, but the broader nationalist community want to see a new police service that they can have confidence in.

"The problems of the RUC stem from their own actions, their own history and their own present attitude, which has to change. There has to be a new policing service."

The nationalist SDLP said Mr Rodger's comments were typically hysterical in tone and content.

An SDLP spokesman said, "His denial of the extent of policing problems ill-prepares the police for forthcoming fundamental change.

"Police leaders should acknowledge the years of nationalist alienation from the police and accept what is wrong and what will be changed."

The Commission on policing is expected to publish its report in September, after the marching season.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

04 Jun 99 | UK
Irish lessons 'to boost RUC image'

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online