Wednesday, September 8, 1999 Published at 10:12 GMT 11:12 UK
UK: Northern Ireland
Unionists oppose 'radical' RUC plan
The report into the RUC will be pubished on Thursday
The Ulster Unionists have warned they will oppose any radical reforms contained in the report by Chris Patten into the future of the RUC.
But Ulster Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson said the proposals, which are published on Thursday, were "very radical".
He told the BBC: "We will look at the report, we will study it, but if it is as radical as being suggested, we will be opposing many aspects of this report because we do not believe that it will in fact create a police service which is acceptable to the whole community because it will, in many senses, be a calculated insult to the people who served [in the RUC].
Mr Donaldson, MP for Lagan Valley, said the recommendation that the force should be renamed as the Northern Ireland Police Service was an insult to the 302 police officers who had died in the Troubles in the past 30 years.
He added: "I am far from convinced that simply by changing the name of the police force in Northern Ireland, that that is going to be acceptable to nationalists."
Mr Ross said the force did not exclude Catholics.
He said: "The truth of the matter is that Roman Catholics joined the force and were a major target for terrorists and were murdered in quite large numbers by terrorists whenever they could identify them, because they hated them and claimed they were traitors to the nationalist cause."
Sinn Fein chief whip Alec Maskey said his party would look at the proposals contained in the report, A New Beginning For Policing, within the terms of reference of the Good Friday Agreement.
Mr Maskey said: "Every single barometer of opinion within the broader nationalist community and beyond have recognised and made demands about policing for a long, long time."
He continued: "If there is to be a report from Chris Patten which measures up to his terms of reference in the Good Friday Agreement, then we all benefit.
"Policing under the RUC has been one force serving one section of the community in a very bad way."
DUP leader Ian Paisley branded the proposals as "evil".
He said: "My party was correct in its predictions that the Agreement would lead to the destruction of the RUC. That being so we are not going to rest on our laurels. We intend to defend the police and eradicate the Patten proposals.
'50/50 recruitment proposal'
The report is understood to contain a proposal that future recruitment of Catholics and Protestants into the police should be on an equal basis.
He said: "There is an argument for saying that there is a compelling state interest, national interest and community interest in having a police service which is representative of the whole community and that in those circumstances someone who is a Catholic brings more to the police service in terms of a contribution than someone who is not.
Irish Junior Foreign Minister Liz O'Donnell said that any fair minded person would agree there was a need for reform of the RUC.
Speaking in Belfast she said: "That is in no way to insult the memory of the RUC officers who have died in the service of the community in Northern Ireland over 30 years of taking on terrorism.
"What it is about is providing a new policing service in a new peaceful environment which will command the respect of all of the community."