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EDITIONS
Thursday, 9 September, 1999, 17:30 GMT 18:30 UK
RUC name change 'insult to victims'
Lurgan IRA shooting
A blanket covers one of two RUC constables murdered by the IRA in Lurgan in 1997

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Click here for the full report

A widow whose husband was murdered by the IRA says the proposed name change for the RUC is an insult to his memory and other victims of The Troubles.

Hilda Jardine says, although the Royal Ulster Constabulary is 92% Protestant, she does not accept it is in any way biased or in need of reform.

She does not think moves to recruit more Catholics will work, largely because of intimidation by republican paramilitaries.

Mrs Jardine's husband Joe was shot dead by the IRA in 1972, in Middletown, County Armagh, an area which became known as "bandit country".

'Religion is irrelevant'

She said: "There were Catholics in the police with Joe and a lot of them had to leave because the people in their own areas forced them out.

"I can't see how what religion you are makes any difference to being a good policeman. My husband never worried about what religion people were, he wasn't interested in that."

Chris Patten quote
Mrs Jardine said: "The widows, orphans, injured policemen, we are the forgotten people in all these changes."

"What difference is changing the name going to make to how people do their job? My husband spent 16 years serving his country. It was the RUC to him and it will always be the RUC to me."

Mr Jardine was a former part-time policeman - known as a B Special - who was about to join the Ulster Defence Regiment when he was killed.

His widow recalled the day he died: "They just came into the office and riddled him with bullets. He didn't deserve that death.

"Joe was always in good form, great fun, and always singing. When he went out the morning he was killed, he was singing as he got into the car."

'Young family'

She added: "He never discussed it with me, but I always dreaded something happening to him."

Mrs Jardine said: "We were married 17 years and I was left with a young family. It hasn't got any easier being without him over the years, in fact, it's got worse as I get older."

She said: "The changes will be very hard on people in the police at the minute. I know lots of policemen who are worried about losing their jobs.

"I don't want anybody who was a terrorist or supports terrorists in a position of authority over the police or over me."

Mrs Jardine is pessimistic about the peace process and the paramilitary ceasefires: "I don't think there'll be real peace in my lifetime."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Audio
Rosemary Craig, whose husband survived an IRA attack 20 years ago, says the RUC does need to change
Audio
Chairman of the Police Federation of Northern Ireland, Les Rogers: "The name is very important topeople"
Read BBC News Online's full special report on policing reform in Northern Ireland

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09 Sep 99 | N Ireland
09 Sep 99 | N Ireland
11 Sep 99 | On Air
09 Sep 99 | N Ireland
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08 Sep 99 | N Ireland
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