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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 May, 2004, 16:35 GMT 17:35 UK
Primate raises collusion concerns
Archbishop Sean Brady
Archbishop Brady called for urgency in police reform
The head of the Catholic Church in Ireland has criticised the government for failing to tackle the issue of collusion.

The Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Sean Brady, described as "unacceptable" the delay over a public inquiry into the murder of the Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Dr Brady said he wanted to highlight what he saw as the main issues on the way to finding a resolution.

He added that the political parties must go the "extra mile" to bring about police reform.

"I know that there is hope there, great hope, and I want to put on record recognition and appreciation of what has been achieved and pay tribute to politicians who have stayed with the process," he said.

I think it is a very sad reflection of the leadership he is prepared to give and I don't think it is in keeping with what Roman Catholics want
Ian Paisley Jnr
DUP assembly member

"But at the same time, maybe by naming the obstacles people will begin to accept and see where the responsibility lies for the removal of those."

DUP assembly member and Policing Board member Ian Paisley Junior said the comments were unhelpful.

"It will destabilise the Catholic community whose support for policing has quite clearly been growing," he said.

"Now they are getting the message from their Catholic leadership: 'Just put the brakes on that support - we have to get more concessions before you can support the police with open arms'.

"I think it is a very sad reflection of the leadership he is prepared to give and I don't think it is in keeping with what Roman Catholics want."

The Chief Constable, Hugh Orde, described Dr Brady's speech as balanced.

'United Ireland'

However, in a statement on Thursday, Mr Orde said that some parts of the speech that had been highlighted did not give a true reflection of its overall balance.

The vice-chairman of the Policing Board, Denis Bradley, described Dr Brady's speech as "helpful".

Mr Bradley said the Archbishop helped highlight some of the problems communities had over policing.

"I think that the Catholic community does not yet fully accept that those reforms are happening and ongoing and I think it's up to the Policing Board, and people like myself to continue to assure the Catholic community that there actually is that change," he said.

The Archbishop's comments came in a speech he delivered in London on Wednesday on the topic Faith and Identity - a Catholic Perspective on Northern Ireland.

He said that Protestants had to accept the full implications of the Good Friday Agreement and the legitimacy of the nationalist aspiration to a united Ireland.

And he called for Catholics to "vigorously challenge" the actions of "non-democratic armed groups".

He described Northern Ireland as a society with an "inherent capacity to distrust".

Inquiries into 'collusion' murders
01 Apr 04  |  Northern Ireland

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