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BBC NI's Mark Simpson talks to Dr Sean Brady
The archbishop says people on the ground are worried about issues such as emblems and transparency
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Archbishop Sean Brady
"There are still roadblocks on the way to its final acceptance"
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BBC Radio Ulster's Gareth Gordon
The archbishop's intervention proves the policing debate is far from over
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Friday, 19 January, 2001, 22:12 GMT
Archbishop 'unable to back' RUC reforms
RUC patrol
The issue of police reform is contentious
The Catholic Primate of All Ireland has said he is unable to give his full support to the proposed new police service in Northern Ireland.

Archbishop Sean Brady told the BBC a number of "roadblocks" currently stood in the way of the service being accepted, but he was hopeful these could be resolved.

His comments come against a backdrop of political unrest over policing reforms, which will see the Royal Ulster Constabulary replaced by the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party and Sinn Fein have, so far, refused to take part in the new policing structures because they do not think reforms go far enough.

Meanwhile, unionists believe the reforms go too far.

Archbishop Sean Brady
Archbishop Sean Brady: Concern remains about a number of issues

Dr Brady said concerns remained about a number of issues including the new emblems and symbols of the service, and the power of the new police board.

"There are still obstacles, there are still roadblocks on the way to its final acceptance," he said in a BBC interview on Friday.

"I'm not saying that just for myself. I know from listening to people around.

"People are saying, that because of this difficult history in the past, they are suspicious, there's great distrust. They want to be sure that it is right."

He said he was also concerned about the "transparency" of past events such as the cases of Catholics Robert Hamill and Pat Finucane.

Shot dead

Nationalists have called for public independent inquiries into both deaths. The cases are being linked to attempts to persuade the SDLP to take up seats on the new police board, set up to oversee policing.

Mr Hamill was kicked and beaten to death by a loyalist mob in Portadown, County Armagh, in May 1997.

Solicitor Pat Finucane was shot dead in his north Belfast home in 1989. One man is awaiting trial for his murder.

Dr Brady said he hoped these matters could be resolved but said it was better to resolve them fully rather than quickly.

Meanwhile, a group of Royal Ulster Constabulary officers who went back to school to work with young people, have graduated from a new education programme.


Working in schools is a unique role for a police officer

Brian McCargo

Thirty-four officers were presented with their Working with Schools certificates at a special ceremony in Stranmillis College on Friday.

The officers, who work in juvenile liaison throughout Northern Ireland, were responsible for delivering the community affairs police education programme to schools.

RUC chief superintendent Brian McCargo, head of the Community Affairs branch, praised the officers.

He said: "It was recognised that working in schools is a unique role for a police officer, and it is vital that these early contacts with young citizens leave an impeccable impression.

"This training course was designed in conjunction with Stranmillis University College to equip our juvenile liaison officers with the skills required to work with the utmost professionalism for the children in our community."

The certificates were presented by Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan, at Stranmillis College.

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See also:

21 May 00 | Northern Ireland
Adams rejects NI police bill
19 Jan 00 | Northern Ireland
Sweeping changes for RUC
23 Nov 00 | RUC Reform
Q&A: RUC reforms
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